Ombudsman Karen Stevens' tips for staying safe and insured during the holiday

Last updated 15:03 21/12/2015

Check the tyres before heading overseas. Driving a car that is not roadworthy will invalidate your insurance.

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The exodus to beach and bach from our towns and cities has begun, but the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman is warning people to take steps to keep their home  and car secure.

"It's a busy time of year but, doing a few things before you leave could make the difference if something does go wrong," ombudsman Karen Stevens said.

She urged people lock up their homes and garages while they were away, to get staycationing neighbours to keep an eye on the place for them, and to check they were up to date with premiums so their house and contents insurance didn't lapse while they were away.

When on their trip, she urged drivers to drive carefully and safely, not drink and drive, and comply with their licence conditions. Driving "in breach" of a licence at the time of an accident could mean a claim would be turned down by an insurer.

And, before hitting the road, she urged people to check the car was roadworthy. Making sure the car has a warrant was important, but drivers should go further and check the general safety and road-worthiness of the car, including the tyres.

"Claims can be declined after an accident, because the car was considered to be unsafe or un-roadworthy – even if it had a current warrant of fitness," Stevens said.

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