As Thieves Target Cars and Packages; Insurers Offer Tips on Protecting Valuables this Holiday Season

CHICAGO – With “package pirate” thefts and “smash and grab” car break ins on the rise during the holiday season, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is urging shoppers to take a few extra precautions to safeguard their property. But if you do fall victim to theft, your loss may be covered by insurance.

“With numerous holiday activities such as shopping, decorating, attending parties and traveling, there are many opportunities for thieves to strike, vehicle crashes to occur and even home fires to ignite,” said Bob Passmore, assistant vice president, personal lines policy at PCI. “Whether it is a theft, crash or fire, your auto and homeowners insurance policies are designed to provide you with coverage. Homeowners insurance covers package theft from your front door or even your car. If decorations, a space heater, or a stove sets your home on fire, homeowners insurance is there to help you recover. And, if thieves steal your car, if you carry comprehensive coverage, that’s covered by your auto insurance policy.”

Thieves often target vehicles or packages that are stored in cars as shoppers race from store to store during the holiday season. Some important tips to avoid becoming a victim of theft:

  • Don’t leave bags and packages in plain sight in your car. Hide your purchases or put them in the trunk.
  • Park in well-lit areas and lock your doors.
  • Never leave your car running.
  • Don’t leave keyless entry fobs in the car.

Home invasions, fires, and other mishaps also spike during the holidays. To protect your valuables and loved ones:

  • Be aware of holiday fire hazards. Keep trees well hydrated, avoid using flammable materials to decorate, and keep decorations away from candles, lights, and fireplaces. Don’t overload extension cords and unplug lights when you’re not home or going to bed.
  • Don’t let your home look unoccupied. If you’re heading out of town for the holidays, leave lights on, ask a neighbor to pick up your mail, and consider automatic timers for holiday lights.
  • Be smart about package deliveries. Try to schedule deliveries for when you are home or request that packages be left at a side or back door. Ask neighbors to keep an eye on your porch and consider installing security cameras.

Poor weather over the holidays can create hazardous conditions and lead to slip and fall accidents.

  • Be extra careful walking across parking lots, driveways or entryways. Be sure to clear your side walk and driveway of snow and ice.
  • Snow, ice and water tracked into a house or building can lead to unexpected slick spots. Mop up water immediately.
  • Avoid walking while distracted. Cell phones can take your focus away from dangerous walking conditions.

About Us

PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write $216 billion in annual premium, 36 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 43 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 29 percent of the homeowners market, 34 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 36 percent of the private workers compensation market.

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