It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also one of the most dangerous. Amid the hustle and bustle of Christmas and the New Year, accidents can and do happen. Taking steps to prevent or prepare for them could mean the difference in a happy holiday or a season full of frustration. Continue reading to learn three easy ways you can better protect yourself, others, and your possessions in the days ahead.
1. Consider an Insurance Endorsement for Valuable Gifts
It can be exciting to get an expensive gift that you would never have purchased for yourself. Maybe it’s that diamond tennis bracelet you’ve had your eye on, or perhaps it’s a brand new hunting rifle. Whatever it may be, the good news is that it will automatically be covered under your homeowners or renters insurance policy. The bad news is that there may be limitations on that coverage that will leave you at risk.
Typically, personal belongings coverage puts a cap on the amount of coverage available for certain items, such as firearms and fine jewelry. It is important to review your coverage to ensure your item values do not exceed the limits on your policy. If they do, it may be time to add an endorsement to adequately insure high-value items.
2. Beware of Thieves
There are a lot of dishonest people that would not hesitate to steal everything you worked hard to purchase or take everything you received. Fortunately, personal property coverage on your homeowners or renters insurance policy can help lessen the impact on your pocketbook. In fact, it will extend to items stolen from your car as well. But regardless of what was stolen from, they will be subject to the deductible on your policy.
A better strategy is to try to avoid filing a claim altogether by:
- Keep purchases with you as you walk from store to store; don’t ‘hide’ them in your car – this includes returns made after December 25th
- Have online purchases shipped to a designated pick-up locker or a local store; you can also request a signature on delivery
- Do not post major purchases or plans to travel on social media; thieves could use the information to target your home for a robbery
- Put lights on a timer and request a neighbor keep an eye on your home and mail when you travel
- Double check all doors and locks on your home, and always set your intruder alarm
Keep in mind that it is not only gifts that thieves have their eye on. Some crooks are looking for a much bigger prize – your car. Be sure to lock it up each time you leave it, and never leave it idling while you run into a store or home. Cars left running during cold weather offer thieves a quick escape. Of course, you should also make sure your insurance is up to date. Talk to your independent agent about and affordable car insurance policy that includes comprehensive protection for losses such as car theft.
3. Drive Safely
It goes without saying: You are at higher risk of being in an accident when there are more cars on the road. According to the National Safety Council, 343 people died in car accidents on New Year’s Day in 2013. The numbers aren’t much better during the three days surrounding Christmas. If you must drive, be sure to leave early, buckle-up, and pay close attention to your surroundings.
The odds of being in an accident are complicated further during times when there are more alcohol-impaired drivers behind the wheel. Throughout the year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports an average of 36 alcohol-related traffic deaths per day. During the Christmas holiday period, however, that number rises to 45. Just one week later – New Year’s Day – an average of 54 people die in accidents involving alcohol. If possible, avoid driving late at night when intoxicated party-goers may be heading home. Of course, if you plan to drink yourself, be sure to plan ahead with a designated driver.