A friend recently shared the story of how his father would put their electric iron in the vehicle’s boot on trips down to the coast.
Somewhere between Pretoria and Bloemfontein, this friend’s mother would start frantically wondering if she unplugged the iron or perhaps left it on. His father would calmly stop on the side of the road, open the boot and hand over the iron to his mother.
We all have those nagging doubts when we leave for a trip. Whether you drive to a coastal town or fly to some foreign destination, you are usually kept awake the night before with worries such as: “Have I packed everything” and “Will the house be all right while we are away”.
These are legitimate questions, but they do not often include worries about the administrative side of things, such as your life insurance, household insurance or medical aid, even though these issues are very important. A forgotten toothbrush can easily be replaced, but you do not want to find yourself abroad without the requisite travel insurance or 1 000 km from home without the necessary household cover.
Here are a few things to consider before your holiday trip:
1. Look after you and your family first
Statistically the holiday season is a bad time for accidents and deaths. This may be because of the sudden change of pace or because more people spend time on the road, but regardless of the reason, you should make sure your life insurance is in order.
A quick call to your advisor or broker should be enough to check if everything is in order and paid up. Also make sure to check for any possible exclusions on your policy, such as foreign travel to a potentially dangerous location or exclusion of cover if there is non-payment.
Make sure to keep the documents where your next of kin can easily access it and log a claim if the unthinkable happens.
2. Make sure the house is covered
An equally quick chat with your household insurer or broker will help you ascertain if your household insurance cover is adequate, if payment is up to date and if there are any exclusions. Be sure to keep the claims number close at hand if something were to happen while you are far away.
3. Medical aid and medical insurance
Whether you are holidaying at the coast or on another continent, you are away from your family doctor and your well-known medical providers.
Keep a list handy of all your medical aid details and any possible conditions that you or any family member may have. This will ensure the best possible care if something were to happen.
If you are traveling abroad, make sure to get the required travel insurance and medical cover and perhaps check your own medical aid on the correct procedures for logging a medical claim in your destination country.
4. Security and looking after the house
You may not have the budget for a full time house sitter, nor have the need for one, but at least make sure that you have informed your security company of your travel plans. They can then be vigilant when patrolling your property and perhaps even keep the mailbox clean.
If you do not have home security, arrange for a friend, neighbour or relative to check in at regular intervals to put out the trash, clear the mail and keep an eye open.
5. Unplug and pack away
If you are living in the northern parts of South Africa, chances are you have lost some electronic equipment in summer thunderstorms. Be sure to unplug TVs, hi-fi equipment and any other sensitive electronic equipment before embarking on your trip.
Once all these boxes have been ticked, you are ready for your holiday with only one more box to tick: Enjoying your well-deserved time off!