• Shop with a friend. Thieves are most likely to approach someone alone.
• Park in a well-lit area. Survey your surroundings before leaving your vehicle or approaching your car with your arms full of packages.
• Make sure your car is locked. That’s a good practice anytime – not just when you’re shopping.
• Keep your wallet close by and never leave it unattended. There’s no bigger panic than a missing wallet, and thieves can spot an easy target.
• Ask the merchant to run your debit card as a credit card. There’s less chance for fraud and you’ll be able to dispute any erroneous charges.
• Make sure your gifts are out of sight. That means secured in your trunk or other area of your car that cannot be easily seen, as well as away from windows and doors at home.
But what if something bad happens during your holiday shopping adventures? Consider the following scenarios.
You’ve finished Round One of shopping and have placed several bags in your car. When you return, you discover that your car has been broken into and your gifts are gone. What’s your next step?
You might think that your car insurance would cover your loss, since your gifts were left in your car. Actually, it’s your personal property coverage from your homeowner’s policy that applies here. Your deductible will determine if you have coverage. Most home policies have at least a $500 deductible. If you are the victim of a car break-in, be sure to report the incident to the police immediately. They will file a report that you can provide to your insurance carrier if necessary.
As you’re rushing from store to store, you slip and fall. Who do you contact and what kind of information do you need if you are seriously hurt?
That could depend on several things. Was there water or other debris on the floor? Did you fall on a store display? Or did you just get your feet tangled up? Ask your shopping partner or someone nearby to notify the store manager. The manager will make sure you are okay; call for medical care if necessary; file an incident report; and advise you on next steps.
During the holidays, as always, your Allen Tate Insurance agent is your trusted advisor when it comes to questions about insurance coverage. Happy Holidays – and safe shopping!
By Robin Price (Vice President of Sales, Insurance)