Holiday shopping season a smashing success for car prowlers.

By Ryan Hurlbert on January 6th, 2011

I went to a local "Black Friday" shopping event for a great buy on a trampoline. I don't care how much money I could save on a Christmas gift, I will never, ever, go through that again! However, thousands and thousands of shoppers will spend the next few weeks searching for the perfect gifts, and thousands and thousands of thieves will spend the next few weeks breaking into cars to steal them. 'Tis the season, indeed.

Christmas gifts left in cars are easy pickings for car prowlers. Shoppers often drop packages off in the car, and return to the mall to continue shopping or have lunch. It only takes a few seconds for a thief to make off with a morning's shopping haul.

Plan to protect your car and loot

You can avoid this problem with a little planning:

  • See if the stores you shop in will hold your purchases for you, then pick everything up at one time when your shopping day is over.
  • Call for back-up and have a family member or friend meet you at the mall for a package pick-up so you don't store anything in your car.
  • If you must put packages in your car, make sure they are out of sight.
  • Park in a busy, well-let part of the lot.

Is theft covered by insurance?

Should your car be broken into, your auto insurance will only pay for the damage the thief did to your car. The gifts would be covered by your homeowner or renter's insurance policy. It is a good idea to keep the receipts with you and not in the bag with the purchase so you will have ready proof of your loss.

You will be subject to both the deductible for the damage to the car, and the deductible for the loss of the gifts, and in some cases it may not even be worth filing the claim. Even if you don't make a claim on your insurance, file a police report. If they catch the thief and recover your items they can return them to you.

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