Read our tips for keeping yourself safe and your property secure during the holiday season.

In New Zealand, the festive season is a double whammy. Not only do we have the festivities of Christmas, but immediately afterwards, almost the entire country considers itself on holiday. Summer is in full swing, many people head to the beach, and brains are switched from work mode to relax mode.

It’s a wonderful time of the year! But with holiday travel, elaborate cooking and BBQ usage, celebrations, and outdoor activities all on the agenda, there are concerns for the safety and security of people and property. As insurance brokers, it’s our job to ensure that our clients are covered for when the worst happens. While insurance is a great safety net, smooth and trouble-free holidays are always the goal.

To help you have a fantastic holiday period after a difficult year, we have compiled a list of tips for staying safe during Christmas and the summer months.

Secure your home

If you’re heading out on holiday, make sure that your home will be in good shape when you get back. Lock all doors, and your windows too if possible. Try not to make it obvious that you are away. If you have a trusted neighbour you could ask them to get your mail in and take your bins in and out, and maybe offer to let them park cars at your place. Fit security lights and an alarm. To make things easier if you do have to claim, log the serial numbers of all your electronics with SNAP, a free online tool by the NZ Police.

In case your home is burgled during your holiday, ensure that your home and contents policies are up to date and sufficient. Additionally, some people are not aware that they should notify their broker if they are planning to be away from home for more than 90 days as this can affect your insurance cover. We recommend contacting us before your trip if you have any concerns about the length of time you will be away and how your insurance might be impacted.

Drive safe

The primary concern on the road, of course, is the safety of yourself and the other occupants of the vehicle. That said, even small fender benders that result in no injury can really ruin a summer road trip by putting your vehicle out of action for a while—not to mention requiring that you try to arrange repairs away from home!

To avoid any undesirable scenarios, take all the common precautions. Have your car serviced before the Christmas rush, and check the tyre pressure immediately before departure. Don’t drive after drinking or when tired. Avoid the rush hour if possible, and take extra care on wet roads.

If something unexpected does happen on the road make sure to contact us as soon as possible, so that we can help guide you through the claims process and get you back on the road.

Be water wise

In New Zealand we are never far from the coast and many people head there for their summer getaway. While swimming or boating in the ocean, lakes, and rivers is a wonderful and treasured activity, it can be a dangerous one too. Make sure to check your insurance details for boats, jet skis and other vessels before heading out on the water; and contact us if you have any questions.

If possible, swim where lifeguards are patrolling. If there are none in the area, then only enter the water where it is calm. Never allow small children to go near the water unsupervised, and nobody—child or adult—should go out of their depth unless they are very confident. Always wear lifejackets when aboard a vessel of any kind, and do not head out in adverse conditions. You should always tell someone of your boating plans and be contactable. We recommend keeping your cell phone inside something waterproof and preferably buoyant.

Cook with care

BBQs are a Kiwi summer staple, and we love a good brazier or campfire too. Cooking with fire requires some extra thought and care, particularly in the summer season when the fire risk is higher due to dry foliage.

It’s common sense, but start with ensuring that your BBQ or brazier is a good distance from any trees, buildings, furniture, or any other objects. Always extinguish any flames before heading to bed. If you are considering a campfire or any kind of open fire, you must first check the regulations and laws. These exist at national and local levels. This is a good tool that will help you to check when and where a fire is permitted. You should also check your insurance policies for your home and holiday home to make sure that you have sufficient cover in case of a fire.

Whatever you do this holiday period, we hope that you have a wonderful time and make amazing memories. We also hope that you stay safe and your property comes out of summer unscathed! These tips should help—but in case the undesirable scenarios do happen, make sure to contact your broker in order to get those summer plans back on track.

The Runacres team can review your risks, assess your insurance needs, and make sure that you can sail through the holiday season with peace of mind. Happy holidays!

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