Road trip: Top 10 holiday tips

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 SAFETY FIRST: With mid-year road trips on the horizon it's important to do a number of checks before setting off. We have a list of items drivers often forget. Image: Shutterstock ~ Shutterstock

When it comes to planning a holiday, most of us make a checklist of the items we need to take along, so that we don’t forget or leave anything behind.

Johan van Greuning, head of Standard Insurance Limited, says: "Even though a checklist of what to pack is important there is an entirely different list which, if forgotten, could have dire consequences."

The holiday checklist that is often forgotten:

Van Greuning advises on the following additional factors to consider leaving home...

 1.  Don’t leave property unattended

Leaving your property unattended can increase the risk of burglary. Make sure you have security measures in place. Get a neighbour to collect your mail as an over filled post box is a clue to potential burglars that no one is home. Get your alarm serviced before you go away- an alarm which continuously goes off, will also advertise to burglars that you are away.

 2.  Leave lights on

It is advisable to leave lights on, but if electricity is a concern, consider investing in a timer. Switch off the geyser, as it will save you money and prevent any chance of bursting while away. Get a friend or family member to check on the property at least once a day.

 3.  Ensure your home owner’s policy is up to date

Make sure the information on your home owner’s policy is up to date. If you don’t have a home owner’s policy, consider obtaining a quote. It usually is very affordable, especially when combined with car insurance.

 4.  Service your car before going on a long trip

If your car is not road worthy and you have an accident, your insurance company may not pay your claim. There are over 1 million accidents a year on South African roads and unfortunately the rate of accidents increases over the holiday period. Consider getting car insurance if you don’t have, before going away.

 5.  Make sure you are covered when travelling across borders

If you are crossing borders or travelling overseas, make sure you are covered insurance-wise. Failing to inform your insurance company of your trip could prevent any pay outs on claims.

 6.  Ensure you have medical cover when travelling

There is nothing worse than falling ill on vacation and not having the money to pay for it. Medical cover should form part of your financial portfolio even if you are not going away. If you are travelling overseas it is a well-known fact that hospitals and medical services cost a small fortune; especially if the rand is 15 to 1 against the local currency for example.

If you have a medical emergency in New York, America, you may be presented with a R1-million bill. If you don’t have medical aid, consider taking out travel insurance at the very least when travelling.

 7.  Read your travel insurance policy carefully

You automatically qualify for travel insurance when purchasing air tickets with your credit card. This could assist in the unfortunate event of your luggage being lost or stolen while travelling. Be mindful of the policy terms and conditions however, as travel insurance may not cover every eventuality and there are different plans available. Each traveller is different so cover should be customised to suit individual needs.

 8.  Consider having life cover

Did you know that for the cost of a rental car for 12 days, you could buy one years’ worth of life cover that would pay out R1-million or more on your demise? Leaving your family financially secure in the event of your death would assist them in many ways. Life cover is very affordable, so consider adding this to your to-do check list.

 9.  Update your will

What would happen to your family if you did not return from your trip? Do you have a will in place and would they know where to find it? Make sure all your affairs are in order to assist your family as we never know where life takes us from one day to the next.

 10. Cover your bases

Van Greuning said: "This may not be the usual checklist you would make before you go on holiday but it is just as important as the physical things you take with you. Not only will it help you while on holiday should you need it; it is a check list for life in general. Take the time to cover your bases to ensure any mishaps will be dealt with, without ruining your trip."