CHICAGO – With the number of holiday shoppers increasing, so are the opportunities to have a car accident or break-in. However, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is offering tips to help shoppers avoid auto insurance claims this holiday season.
“During the holidays, parking lots can be a prime target for thieves,” said Bob Passmore, PCI’s assistant vice president of personal lines. “It’s important to pay close attention to your surroundings and use extra caution while driving or parking. The hustle and bustle of the season creates an opportunity for break-ins and car thefts. So be sure to lock your vehicle, engage your alarm system if you have one and keep shopping bags, cell phones, purses and other personal property out of sight. It’s always a good idea to protect yourself and be extra vigilant so you’re not a target.”
Additionally, shoppers can easily be distracted and crash while driving in heavy traffic around shopping centers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, collision claims increase by 20 percent just in the month of December alone. In the event you have an accident be prepared to document the details regarding where the claim occurred and collect insurance and driver’s license information from the other motorist. For a stolen vehicle gather information such as license plate number, vehicle identification number (VIN) and registration and report the theft to the police immediately.
“The comprehensive portion of your auto insurance will cover the theft of your vehicle or damage to the vehicle due to vandalism or a break-in,” said Passmore. “It may be your homeowners or renters insurance policy that covers any personal property stolen from your vehicle. For personal property theft, you will need receipts or other items that describe the property and document its value. Be sure to talk with your insurance company or agent about your coverage and endorsement options for things like person property coverage.”
7 Quick Tips to Have a Claim Free Shopping Trip
1.) Take your time and slow down, everyone is in a hurry and it’s best to plan ahead and make sure plan for extra time in parking lots to avoid any accidents.
2.) Assume no one else is paying attention, make sure you scan the surrounding and watch for pedestrians who dart in front of your car.
3.) Stay off your cell phone it’s important to avoid distractions.
4.) Make sure you place your shopping bags and even extra money in the trunk of your car to avoid thieves from attempting to break-in your car.
5.) Plan for sudden stops-it’s a good idea to avoid the front of the shopping entrances where you’ll potentially find more pedestrians who could possible dart out in front of your vehicle or possibly not paying attention and on their smartphones.
6.) If your vehicle is stolen, report the theft to the police immediately and contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible. Personal property stolen from a vehicle may be covered under your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
7.) If items are stolen from your vehicle, make a list of personal property taken. Coverage for personal items varies from state to state, and your homeowners or renters insurance policy may provide additional coverage for personal items that were stolen.