Ah, Christmastime, the season of good will, brotherhood and giving! Unfortunately, it's also the season for taking by the Grinches out there busily eyeing those brightly-papered packages on your backseat or beneath your tree.
A new national survey by Trusted Choice, aka the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America or "Big I," finds that 44 percent of us have been victims of burglary, robbery or theft. Of those, six out of 10 were uninsured.
Your homeowners insurance will typically cover losses to theft and break-ins, as will your auto insurance. But if you've only insured your contents for actual cash (or depreciated) value rather than full replacement cost, you could still lose out if the Grinch pays a call. Full replacement coverage adds about 10 to 15 percent to a typical homeowners premium, according to Big I.
Want to Grinch-proof you home and vehicle this holiday season? Follow these Big I tips:
- Break down boxes for things like expensive electronics and discard in nonclear bags.
- Keep gifts hidden from view from the outside.
- Lock all doors and windows, even when leaving for a short time.
- Leave spare keys with a neighbor rather than hiding them outside.
- Use timers to turn on indoor and outdoor lights.
- Ask for ID from strangers at your door. Criminals can pose as couriers or charity workers.
- Consider extra "endorsement" coverage for jewelry, antiques and collectibles if their value exceeds the limits of your home insurance policy.
In the car:
- Lock all doors and roll up all windows, even when leaving for a short time.
- Don't leave gifts in your car overnight; bring them inside with you.
- When shopping, keep gifts in the trunk or hidden from view.
- Put packages in the trunk before leaving one parking lot and driving to another. Stowing them at your next stop might flag thieves.
- At night, park directly under lights whenever possible and avoid secluded areas.
- Use a credit card in order to avoid thefts of large amounts of cash that cannot be replaced.
- Shop with one credit card – it's easier to cancel one than several if your wallet or purse is stolen.
- Keep purses zipped and in your possession, not in shopping carts.
- Carry keys, cash and credit cards separately.
- Avoid walking alone.
- Leave malls and stores well before closing time to assure a more active parking lot.
Wishing you and yours a Grinch-free holiday!
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