How Do You Protect Your Assets?

Aside from the presidential election, the media has been full of coverage of Hurricane Sandy recently. While the hurricane has caused complete devastation and ruined many people’s lives, there are some great lessons that we can all learn. From a selfish point of view, it has forced me to look closely at different ‘high risk’ aspects of my life and consider if I have adequate risk mitigation systems in place. For example: Do I have adequate insurance to protect me financially against something destroying my house? This got me thinking about all the different ways in which people can protect their assets and what is important to them. Because I like structure and writing things logically, I have broken these down into three main areas. Ask yourself if you are totally comfortable with the current measures you have in place:

Assets

Protecting Yourself

By protecting yourself, I mean health wise. Do you have health insurance in place to cover against medical bills? If you have state medical care (like we do in the UK) is this enough to protect you and your family to a high standard? Are you in a profession where your health / fitness is critical to your ability to carry out your job? If the answer is yes, have you got disability insurance or another back-up plan in place?

Protecting Your Car

Sure, we all have car insurance, but is this always enough? Breakdown cover is almost an essential add-on to protect you against any unfortunate mechanical failures. Furthermore, break down policies vary considerably – from the premium home-start and country wide cover, to the bare minimum of cover within 20 miles of your home. Is the level of cover you have (if any) adequate for your lifestyle? I was once in the car with someone who was unfortunate enough to break-down without cover. Actually, they didn’t break down but ran out of petrol. It cost them over £200 to call out the AA to put about £5 worth of fuel in the tank! This fine alone could have covered up to 10 years worth of cover! Also, consider a policy that protects against valuable stereo / sat nav systems.

Protecting Your House

Numerous people discount this one immediately because they have home insurance, when in reality, they only have a very basic cover which doesn’t properly address home security. Does your insurance cover contents? If so, what is the excess? What exceptions apply? Does this include accidental damage? Protecting your home is an area we can all improve upon. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Use Motion-sensor /  infrared lights around your house and property -these will activate at night upon detecting movement. A bright light alone can deter a potential burglar
  • Blinds / Curtains – We have all seen those houses where you can look in the window and see the car keys, massive television, laptop, wallet etc. WHY? Make a point of protecting your assets with blinds.. as well as your privacy!
  • Lock windows / doors – A burglar doesn’t need to break in to your house if it’s open in the first place! Make a point of checking doors and windows before bed.
  • Ensure that you have proper locks – Consider replacing them if you have recently moved, or adding an extra deadlock / deadbolt
  • Install a home security system - if all other measures don’t work, you need a fail-safe system. An alarm works effectively by creating an extremely loud noise while surprising the intruder. Often the appearance of an alarm system is a big enough of a detterent in itself.
  • Use timer switches to control lights – If you are out the house for long periods of time (even throughout the day) consider using a timer to switch on lights in different rooms at various times. This would confuse any potential burglar scouting the neighbourhood for potential targets.
  • Landscape with Integrity – Trees next to windows act as pretty good substitutes for ladders. Plants / shrubs can provide cover for burglars to sneak up on a property.
  • Meet Your Neighbours – How well do you actually know your neighbours? It is worth having a chat and befriending them – it always helps when neighbours are aware of your working hours / holiday plans.
  • Adjust your phone – Nothing cries out that a home is vacant more than a phone ringing unanswered. Consider turning down the ring volume / turning it to silent when you are out the house.

 

We all think we are safe until it’s too late. Which area is your biggest weakness?

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Comments

  1. Definitely agree with Car care, AAA is definitely worth the $100+ coverage for a year in case of emergency , but they also give you discounts at hotels, restaurants and such so its got some added benefits.

    I haven’t checked to see how their car insurance is…has anyone?
    Joe Cassandra recently posted..7Minute Interview with Sparring Mind’s Gregory CiottiMy Profile

    • Great point Joe… you can often get bank accounts which will also cover your against mobile phone insurance / travel insurance. Good to work out what policies you need, then how to get an all-in-one fix!

  2. I’ve been thinking about those things too since Sandy hit. The only thing I really need is a proper emergency kit for my place, but otherwise I think I’ve got everything pretty much covered.

    • :) Pleased to hear it Jess! An Emergency kit sounds like a good plan… I recently installed one in my wife’s car…. high vis vest, jump leads, hazard triangle etc. Feels good being prepared

  3. Am I alone in not being too concerned about anyone breaks into my house if I’m not home? Truthfully, I think they’d be disappointed they went to the trouble. We’re not really stuff people
    Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom recently posted..The Big CookMy Profile

    • Mandy – fair enough, but surely there are some things that are precious to you? A hard drive that contains back-ups of photographs? Ornaments, Jewelry etc?

  4. Nice post. I think we have most of the major things covered. I think really the only main thing we don’t have is an emergency kit for if we just had to go instantly.

    This post did remind me of someone who lives in our neighborhood. They’re right in the center of it and they have absolutely no curtains, blinds, etc. So, everytime you drive by you can see EVERYTHING going on in their house. It drives me nuts and wonder how they’ve never had an issue. My wife just tells me I need to let it go. Of course, she’s the more easy going of the two of us so it’s not as easy for me. :)
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..A Smart Way to Play Interior Designer When MovingMy Profile

    • I must admit, I always enjoy being nosey and peering in these houses! I am sure I am not alone and that a burglar could easily assess whether a place would be a good target or not! I personally can’t stand not having the privacy!!

      Your point on emergency kits reminds me of the people on a show I have been watching about doomsday preppers… some unreal characters on there!! :D

  5. Yes we are protected as I think the small amounts of money it costs are worth it. There’s nothing worse than having something happen and not having the coverage to protect what you own. We have CAA on our vehicles, security on both vehicles and our home. It costs, but it’s peace of mind. Great post. Mr.CBB
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Turning Leaves Into Compost- Where There’s Muck There’s BrassMy Profile

  6. justin@thefrugalpath says:

    We had to learn to lock our doors the hard way. When I was a kid, 15 years ago, we never locked our doors. My parents had 3 kids, so there was always someone coming or going. One night my dad, sister and I were at my sister’s swim meet. My mom took my brother to the store to rent a game. When they returned the house was ransacked. Luckily no one was home. We had left the door unlocked like we always did and no one bothered to check before they left.
    Later we found out it was a heroine addict who had cased the house.
    justin@thefrugalpath recently posted..Avoid Getting Scammed After a Natural DisasterMy Profile

    • Hey Justin… Wow that is some story. It becomes all too comfortable to leave doors unlocked. My mum used to do it when we were kids and I nagged her and nagged to start locking. Finally she saw sense, but there are undoubtedly far too many trusting people!

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