The holiday season is here and with it comes holiday parties, lights, decorations, and of course, shopping at malls and online. In addition to the shopping centers and malls being crowded with shoppers, there are people looking to cash in on what you just purchased for the special people in your life.
The holiday season is a busy time for thieves too. On Tuesday, I outlined 6 steps each of us can take to be more secure at home during the holidays (see https://wiseinsurancegroup.com/home-security-during-the-holidays/), and I wanted to follow that with 3 steps we can take to avoid our cars being broken into now and throughout the year.
Hide: Hide everything in your car including phones, purses, workout bags, briefcases, and gifts. Put them in the trunk, or if you drive a SUV or crossover, pull the rear screen so nothing is visible. If you have a Garmin or other non-factory installed GPS put them in a glove box. Nothing that can be considered valuable should be visible to a person walking by your car.
Lock: Lock your car, always. This is a good practice no matter what time of year it is. This keeps you safe and curious people out.
Take: Take your keys with you, even if you’re running into a Starbucks to pick up a quick cup of coffee. It almost seems too obvious to say, but never leave your keys in the car with the engine running because someone could simply sit in your car and drive away in it. But if you’re tempted to, read your auto policy first. Some companies will not pay a claim for the car if this happens.
Remember to pay attention when leaving your car and walking into a store, as well as when returning to your car. If you see someone standing in the parking lot simply watching cars and people, report it to security or the police. They may be a spotter looking for an easy target.
Park your car in well-lit areas of parking garages and parking lots. If you’re closing out the store, be willing to ask someone to accompany you to your car. The extra person adds to your personal safety and can deter someone from approaching you.
In addition, carry your keys in your hand as you walk to the car so you don’t have to fish them out of a purse or pocket when you get to your car. Having them in your hand allows you to quickly get into your car and provides a method of defense. If someone approaches you at your car, move around the car to keep the hood, trunk, or passenger area between you and them. If you feel unsafe, don’t be afraid to call for help.
There’s one last note worth mentioning, and that is if your car is broken into, and gifts, or anything else is stolen, there are two potential insurance claims. Your car insurance policy covers damage to the car, such as a broken window, but not the items stolen from the car. Any valuables or gifts are covered by the home insurance policy and subject to the policy’s deductible. In Texas, that’s usually 1% of the home’s insured value.
Have a safe and enjoyable holidays! Share your questions, comments, and experiences with us on our Facebook and Google + pages. I’d love to hear from you!