The insurance risks women face

As woman, we’re always putting everyone else’s risk before our own … making sure the vehicles, laptops or sports equipment is safe or that hubby has renewed his vehicle cover this year. 

The list continues and this very easily results in you underinsuring yourself.

‘At worst we ignore our own risk entirely,’ says Christelle Colman, Insurance expert at Old Mutual.

‘Every woman should start by simply thinking about the contents of her handbag. Everything in it is valuable and largely essential. How much of your handbag contents – including the handbag itself if it’s a designer brand is even insured?,” asks Christelle.

Most handbags, for example, contain a smartphone, iPad or even a laptop or a Kindle. All have a purse. Most purses contain bank and credit cards as well as essential identification cards and licenses in addition to, often, large amounts of cash. Then there are car and house keys as well as home and work security and access cards. There is also often spare jewellery like a watch that needs a new battery, or a clasp repaired. Many women also often have expensive cosmetics, essential medication or valuable accessories, ‘like that second-hand Hermes scarf bought on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris, now doubling as a face mask,’ added Christelle.

Apart from these items having both a personal and monetary value, they are also often very difficult and time-consuming to replace. Not only do women routinely fail to insure the contents of their handbags, but when they do, they often under insure them.

Make sure jewellery is insured for its replacement value. In the case of antique jewellery and other rare items, it is not always possible to replace them. So you need to have an accurate and up-to-date valuation certificate that includes the date at which the valuation was undertaken, taking into account Rand-USD and gold price variation.

Not to mention the confusion around the pricing of cover. When you insure jewellery or other personal items, like designer clothing, shoes or handbags, women often provide an arbitrary figure, like, say, R20 000, believing that, ‘since it is unlikely that all my jewellery or clothing will get stolen at once, I only need a few thousand rands of cover to insure the odd item that I may lose,’ says Christelle.

Well, this is a mistake. Think of the combined value of what you have in your designer handbag when wearing one of your most expensive creations. Then, with this figure in mind, check with your insurer which items need to be specified individually.

Since every woman’s risk and the value of their possessions are different, be sure to speak to your insurer or the many very qualified brokers out there. These experts can provide an accurate assessment of each woman’s risks on an item-by-item basis.

‘Since their advice is included in the policy premium, use it,’ advises Christelle.

 The basic minimum covers that you should consider for yourself: 

  1. Household contents cover
  2. Personal all risks insurance covering items outside of the home worn on the person
  3. Specific insurance for jewellery, handbags and other collectable or intrinsically high-value items
  4. Identity theft cover
  5. Adequate travel insurance cover post-COVID-19 with specific cover for medical expenses related to pandemics
  6. Roadside and home assistance cover with access numbers saved on phones for easy access.

Also, make sure that your insurer is aware that you are listed as the main driver of all the vehicles that you drive as most insurers offer female drivers’ discounts.  

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