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Person looking at the wrapped gifts in the car during the holidays

Holiday Shopping – Keep it Safe

Most Canadians start their shopping in November, and if you fall in that category you have seen the increase in traffic around shopping centers and malls. As we get closer to that festive celebration of Christmas, the number of holiday shoppers will increase, with that traffic will increase, and so too will the risk of an accident or theft of those precious gifts inside your car.

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Of course there are precautions you can take to protect yourself, your vehicle and your purchases this holiday season. Police agencies everywhere see an increase in crime around this seasonal holiday. Local police increase efforts to patrol shopping center parking lots and local neighbourhoods checking vehicles to ensure they are locked and that no personal valuables have been left in sight. A campaign called “Lock it or Lose it” will run from now until the New year in order to keep you safe. Notices are being placed on the vehicles that have been left unlocked or that have parcels in plain view. Also, notices will be left to congratulate those drivers that have secured their vehicle. Good for you! Protecting Yourself Shopping centers increase their security effort also – but the real safety starts with YOU! A few quick tips: • Park in well-lit areas • Lock your doors! • Store purchases out of sight. • Shop with a friend – safety in numbers – and it makes shopping much more fun! • If your car is broken into, call the police, and then take photos right away. Nothing can put the bah-humbug into the holiday season more than a Grinch-style theft of gifts. Should your car get broken into, you may be looking at filing two separate claims; one for the damage to your vehicle and the other through your property insurance to cover the stolen gifts. We all know the risk of leaving expensive gifts, a purse or electronics visible in the car on the seats. Yes, it is a busy season and you are likely in a hurry to get in and out of the mall, grocery store and so-on, but it will save you in the long run to take the extra few seconds to store those items safely in the trunk of your vehicle – out of sight! Protecting Your Purchases According to The Globe and Mail, Canadians spend an average of $1800.00 on the holiday season. This includes the gifts, holiday entertaining and travel. Your safest bet may be to pay for your purchases using a credit card that contains purchase protection. Although credit card protection plans may vary slightly, many offer protection on items damaged or stolen up to 90 days from the purchase date. You may be thinking that your home insurance can cover this for you, however, using the credit card protection means you don’t have to file a claim. It is a good idea to keep all receipts too for at least 60 days.

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