With the Easter holiday coming up this weekend, many South African families are busy with their last minute preparations before embarking on their holiday journey. However, in the excitement, some people may forget to plan for any unforeseen events or emergencies, which can quickly turn a holiday into a disaster.  This is according to Christelle Colman, CEO of Europ Assistance South Africa, who urges all South Africans to not leave their home for the Easter holiday before they have completed the below five critical checks:

Test the alarm system and the backup battery

The last thing that anyone wants is to return from a relaxing holiday to find their home has been broken into. Unfortunately, for some, this situation could easily be worsened by a non-payout of an insurance claim if the alarm wasn’t set properly or in working order. One of the main reasons why home insurance claims are rejected by insurers over the holiday period is due to non-compliance of alarm requirements. Most insurers have different terms and conditions set out in their policies detailing how homeowners should maintain their alarms. For example, if a policy requires an alarm to be set whenever the homeowners are not at home and it was not set during the time of an incident, the insurer will not pay the claim. Therefore, it is vital to check your policy for the specific requirements to ensure compliance. If the alarm is faulty or the backup battery is not in a working condition, it is advised not to leave the home unattended.

Ensure the car is in proper roadworthy condition

Do not get on the road without conducting a full vehicle safety check, ensure roadside assistance numbers are saved on your phone and that all car insurance premiums are paid up-to-date. Motorists can do simple safety checks to ensure that if something happens on the road they are prepared for it. Should the unfortunate happen and a breakdown or accident occur, it is of the utmost importance to have your emergency roadside assistance and medical assistance numbers on hand. If the car breaks down or you are involved in a collision, a rental car or emergency accommodation might be needed if you are still far away from your destination, which is why it is important to have your insurer’s details on hand to avoid being stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Do not drink and drive – book a “take me home safe” service

During the holidays when people are entertaining and relaxing there is often an increase in drinking and driving. The likelihood of accidents occurring during this period therefore increases significantly. It is imperative that motorist practice responsible behaviour and make use of driver assistance services to avoid the risks associated with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Check whether you have emergency medical assistance in place

Be sure to check with your bank or insurer if you have access to medical assistance services and if so, make sure that the emergency contact number is saved on your mobile phone. These service providers are qualified to deal with any medical emergency, from sea rescue to any other type of emergency that requires medical stabilization and transportation. If you do not have this in place, make sure you ask your insurer or bank about it as it can mean the difference between life and death.

Emergency home assist services

Unfortunately, emergencies often happen at the most inopportune time. While you are lounging by the sea at the coast, a burst pipe or overflowing geyser back home can seriously spoil your holiday mood. It is recommended that all geysers and water mains are switched off when leaving the home. However, should an unfortunate event take place at home while you are not there, home assistance services will be able to take emergency remedial actions on your behalf.

“By following the above advice, consumers can ensure that their vacation does not turn in a traumatic experience in the event of an emergency. As most services are readily available or already provided in existing products, it is important that holidaymakers familiarise themselves with the various benefits available to them,” concludes Colman.