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Cape Town – It is a good idea to also consider some insurance New Year’s resolutions, according to Christelle Fourie-Colman, CEO of MUA Insurance Acceptances.

“A new year presents a great opportunity to review insurance policies. There are many ways that consumers can actually end up saving money because they minimise the risk of claims being rejected and could also benefit from reduced premiums by being a good insurance customer,” she explained.

She provides a few tips in this regard:

Vehicle insurance

Do not break the law while driving

Should a motorist be caught driving under the influence of alcohol and/or narcotic substances or driving without a valid driver’s licence they are considered to be partaking in a criminal offence and their motor insurance cover could be invalidated.

This is especially true if an accident is caused and the driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol, in which case the claim will most likely not be paid out and the insurance company may even refuse to insure the customer in future.

Attempt to improve your driver behaviour

If a driver is caught driving in a reckless and negligent manner or speeding excessively and thi leads to the damage or destruction of the vehicle (or other vehicles), the related insurance claim could be repudiated.

Some insurance companies actually offer discounted rates to good drivers. They are monitored following the installation of telematics devices which record the driver’s behaviour.

Review the insurance policy annually

It is vital that consumers ensure that their policy accurately reflects how their vehicle is used. When a motor insurance policy stipulates that cover is only provided for a specifically named driver, an insurance claim will only be successful if this driver was behind the wheel at the time of the incident.

If other people will be driving the vehicle from time to time it is important to check what the implications of this are for the policy.

Ensure that parking requirements are listed in the policy

Requirements for storing a motor vehicle while it is not being driven will differ among insurers. Some will accept an off-street parking while others may stipulate that the vehicle must be kept behind an automatic or locked garage door or the premiums will increase.

Home insurance

Regularly maintain the home

Homeowners who fail to properly maintain their homes face an increased risk of insurance claim repudiations. Most homeowners’ insurance policies will only cover damage caused by unforeseen events and regard home maintenance as the responsibility of the homeowner. Therefore, any claims determined as a result of poor maintenance, or neglect, are most likely to be rejected.

Ensure the home contents are insured for the correct replacement value

Most people tend to take out a home contents insurance policy and simply renew it every year, without taking the necessary steps to update their level of cover. For most consumers, the contents of their home are likely to change from year to year as new items are purchased. As a result, the correct value to replace these possessions must be provided to the insurance provider to avoid underinsurance in the event of a claim.

Conduct frequent valuations of home contents

It is important that homeowners take price inflation into consideration. A piece of electrical equipment that cost R5 000 ten years ago, could now cost twice that much to replace. This is why it is so important to conduct regular valuations and provide updated values to the insurance provider to ensure adequate cover, especially when it comes to providing accurate values for items likely to be influences by the fluctuations in the rand value, like expensive jewellery.

Test the home alarm system on a regular basis

All homeowners’ insurance policies will stipulate that it is the policyholder’s responsibility to keep the alarm system in full working condition, because if theft takes place as a result of a faulty alarm, then the claim is likely to be repudiated. This includes the alarm battery being flat.

“By bearing the above in mind, consumers can rest assured that they will minimise any insurance related hurdles in the year to come,” said Fourie-Colman.