Holiday Prowl: Protect Your Vehicle & Gifts From Parking Lot Thieves

The hustle and bustle of holiday shopping is in full swing around the Northwest. While rushing from store to store, remember you are not the only one looking for a hot deal.

Parking lot thieves are on the prowl, aggressively preying on inattentive shoppers hoping to cash in at your expense.

If you have optional Comprehensive Coverage on your Auto Insurance Policy, your vehicle is covered if it's stolen. However, your auto policy will not cover gifts and most personal possessions stolen from your car.

Your Homeowners or Renters policy does cover your belongings, including gifts, but only after you pay the deductible, which is usually $250 or more. That's why it's important to take extra precautions as you shop from store to store and get in and out of your vehicle.

"Unless it's permanently attached to your car, most Auto Insurance policies don't cover your personal belongings," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "As always, you'll save yourself a lot of headaches by taking steps ahead of time to reduce the risk of a break-in."

As you shop, be wary that car prowlers are lurking in parking lots waiting to steal gifts from unattended cars. Here are a few tips from NW Insurance Council to help you shop safely and worry free:
  • Review your insurance policy and consider adding Comprehensive coverage if you don't already have it.
  • Double-check to make sure your doors are locked.
  • Whenever possible, store gifts and other valuables in your trunk. If this isn't possible, throw a blanket over gifts before you leave your vehicle unattended.
  • Don't go back and forth frequently from stores to your vehicle to unload gifts. Car prowlers watch for shoppers who leave gifts in their vehicles unattended.
  • Do not leave valuable items in sight. Cell phones, laptops and other expensive electronic equipment make your vehicle more inviting to thieves.
  • Be sure to park in a well-lit area.
  • Consider installing a quality security system in your vehicle or applying a locking device to your steering wheel.
If you have questions about your Homeowners or Renters insurance, check your policy or call your insurance agent or company.


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