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We are often rushing around to get from where we are to where we need to be next.

Hurrying can result in accidents like forgetting to lock a door or leaving something important behind. With a little more planning, perhaps it could be easier. If there was more you could do - a pre-mortem of sorts - to prevent a rush knocking you unexpectedly, perhaps it would make life more manageable in stressful times, and it would definitely make your insurance work out the way you planned for.

Short-term insurance is subject to many terms and conditions. Failing to uphold your end can possibly result in a claim being repudiated - which often happens. We've outlined some tips so that you can stay ahead of any issues before they happen.

* Remind and repeat. Setting a reminder, such as placing a sticky note in an obvious place, can be a good start. Ensure you keep your reminder top of mind; it could be something such as locking the kitchen door or arming the alarm - whatever wording works for you. You could even set a phone alarm.

* Prep your step. Packing your key items before you go to bed and ensuring you do as much as you can the night before can make your morning easier. Knowing what you will wear and pick up before you run out the door will help you to sleep better and avoid leaving anything behind if you oversleep.

* Know what you own. Knowing the full extent of what you own is essential for adequate insurance cover. You may have seen many people enjoying the benefits of minimalism. Perhaps this isn't for you, but a good principle behind the concept is to be organised and to assess and tally all of your belongings, particularly so you can insure them appropriately.

* Change happens. In the process of looking through your goods, or if you like to sell or give away items periodically, consider if some adjustments may be needed to your insurance policy along the way. These can result in a few hundred rand less to pay on your monthly premium, especially if you have been paying all-risk cover on a laptop you never use outside of home, or on an old cellphone you forgot to remove from your policy. Clutter can cost you, so consider if taking time to make some cuts here would be a good trade-off for you.

* Jingle bells. In the spirit of another year ending, consider creating a limerick or a short rhyme to remember some important things. An example might be “windows closed, locked the back, turned off the hose, locked the front” to remember to lock up before you go to work and to check you turned off the gas stove after cooking breakfast (as you often have a cooked meal in the mornings), or remember to turn off the sprinkler watering the garden (depending on where you live). This will be personal to your circumstances and preferences.

* A fine new form. Forming new habits can be rewarding. If you go outside to the garden, note that when you come back in, you should close the door or lock a security gate. Perhaps feeding your pets could remind you to lock the front door. Find a way to link a good insurance habit with something you do daily anyway.

The ultimate pre-mortem of all is checking that your current short-term insurance policy covers you like you think it does.

Bertus Visser is the chief executive of distribution at PSG Insure.

PERSONAL FINANCE