Barker Insurance

Holiday Risk and Safety Tips


When yearning for your much-deserved annual break, it can be challenging to keep track of all the things that could potentially go wrong whilst you’re away. As always, Barker has your best interests at heart, so here are some tips to take heed of before departing on the vacation you’ve so been looking forward to, all year round:

  • Switch your geyser off before you leave on holiday: An unattended burst geyser can cause extensive damage to your home and furniture. It will also land up costing a fortune in wasted water. Simply switching your geyser off can prevent it bursting, and returning from holiday to an unpleasant surprise.
  • Always be alert: While the holiday season is all about winding down, it's quite the opposite for criminals, as they do all they can to take advantage of ordinary citizen’s more lax behaviour. Don’t let your guard down simply because it’s the festive period. Be vigilant that you are not being followed when entering and exiting your home; check that your car is securely locked in public parking lots; ensure your handbag is closed and carried in the front of your body when you are in malls and shops; don’t wear flashy and expensive jewelry which attracts attention and puts you at heightened risk.
  • Test your security system (alarms, electric fence, gate motor, back-up battery, panic buttons etc.): With dreaded load-shedding coming and going at short notice, it’s important to ensure that your security system has sufficient battery back-up to last the duration of these outages. The power is not always off for the prescribed times, and can sometimes stay off for extended periods. Old alarm batteries only last between 1-2hours, which is of no use. Test, check, and replace them if necessary. A new battery will only cost ±R350 for a standard house alarm, and you can arrange your alarm company to check your alarm's sensors at the same time.
  • Ensure that your security company receives every signal and test signals at least 5 minutes apart.
  • Ensure your garden is tidy and manicured before your departure so it looks as if someone is there maintaining it.
  • Ensure your garage door or front gate is secure.
  • Ensure that your CCTV system and hard drive are effectively operational.
  • Change your gate keypad or access codes.
  • Repair and check all motion lights, change globes where needed and test timers on lights.
  • Repair all leaks from all pipes that may be dripping.
  • Cut back the foliage from your electric fence.
  • Alert your security company and/or community patrol that you’re going away.
  • Ask your neighbour to collect your mail and be cognisant of any suspicious activity.
  • Turn off your intercom’s bell so that anyone ringing it will feel unsure about whether you are home or not.
  • Don’t advertise to the world that you’re going away, especially on social media.
  • Have your car assessed before leaving on a long road trip. This always seems to be the last thing one thinks of and is often neglected. Although you have the fabulous Barker Assist team at your disposal, no one wants to use this service if it can be avoided. Many tyre centers offer free safety checks on your vehicle, so pop past, and get the necessary checks to avoid any additional costs or delays in getting to your holiday destination.
  • Keep tools that could be used for breaking-and-entering out of sight and out of reach.
  • Secure all windows and doors.
  • Keep track of all your house keys and take all your spares with you.
  • Pull out all the plugs to reduce your energy bill, and to protect your electrical appliances from power surges.
  • Leave curtains and blinds open.
  • Cancel newspapers and any other regular deliveries.
  • Take out adequate travel insurance.
  • Don’t state your home address on a luggage label. Rather place a note inside the lid or use an alternative address such as your office or golf club, where you can be found if lost.
  • Keep your valuables out of sight.
  • Take out ALL RISK cover for electronics and other items you wish to take away with you.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi network. Thieves can steal your personal information by using high-tech software tools that can seamlessly run hundreds of passwords and username combinations.

To secure your WIFI network remember these tips:

  • Keep your password unique and complex
  • Enable your router’s firewall
  • Change the name of your network
  • Act on your router’s firmware updates
  • Use encryption
  • Set your network to WPA2 Personal

Remember that BARKER ASSIST is always just a call away.