Don’t let a break-in blow your Christmas bonus.

For those of you who missed it, eNCA news recently aired a fascinating feature in which they interviewed a convicted gang burglar, who remained anonymous.

He explained that burglary targets are not chosen willy-nilly by the gangs, but rather through research, as they have to make the risk worth the reward. They monitor the type of vehicle/s that drive in and out (the more expensive the better), leaving/arriving times and peek over the wall for any obvious signs of wealth, such as lush gardens, manicured lawns and pools, to name a few. He also added that, more often than not, they will find a way in – and more importantly, out and loaded with loot.

But burglary targets cannot be limited to the wealthy. There are also hundreds of smaller cat burglars out there, just looking for a quick smash ‘n grab – a smartphone, TV, tablet or a watch, things most of us own, regardless of our financial status.

Today, burglaries are as common as braais in in South Africa.

In the 2017/2018 crime statistics, 228 094 house burglaries were reported. That’s an average of 625 houses per day.

In light of this, many South Africans are actually underinsured, which often results in claims being denied and claimants having significant out-of-pocket replacement expenses.

Here’s how to make sure you don’t have to blow your Christmas bonus on recouping your losses after a break-in.

Homeowner’s versus Home Contents Insurance

Homeowner’s Insurance is limited to the structure of your home, not its contents. For example, if a burglar breaks a window or a door, it’s deemed structural damage and your homeowner’s policy should compensate you for repairs or replacements.

Home Contents Insurance covers you for items stolen within your home, which should be insured for their current replacement value. So make sure you regularly check their insured value in your policy, or you might not be sufficiently paid out to replace them.

It’s also important to note that Home Contents Insurance does not cover you against theft that takes place outside your home. If you regularly travel with valuables (e.g. a laptop or tablet, etc.), you should consider covering these with an All Risk Insurance policy.

Keep an updated asset registry

If you have to lodge a claim due to a burglary, it’s crucial that you and your insurer know what you are claiming for and that you have proof of ownership (receipts, proof of purchase, etc.) of the goods. Keeping a regularly updated registry of your assets will help to assess your losses accurately and expedite the claim and reimbursement process.

Remember cover values have limits

If you insure your items at the right replacement value, you will be paid out the value if all the terms have been adhered to. However, if a high value item is not specified, it will only be covered for a limited amount, such as a TV that is accidentally damaged. You do have the option to increase the limit, so it’s advisable to speak to your insurer about additional cover.

Cheaters never prosper

Only claim for items you actually own. If you claim for ones that were not in fact stolen, your entire claim can be denied and your future insurance cover is likely to be adversely affected.