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Make safety a priority this holiday season

December 16, 2009

The holiday season is a time for friends, family and good cheer — yet unfortunately it can also be a time of potential risk. Sadly, with increased rates of people drinking and driving, plus theft being more prevalent, you’ll want to stay aware and cautious, ensuring you get through the season safely. Here are some tips to help keep you and your possessions safe during the holidays:

  • If you are planning on traveling and renting a car, check with your insurance professional first. You may have insurance coverage that will extend from your own automobile policy, which will cover damage you may cause to a rental vehicle. This may save you from purchasing the collision coverage offered from the rental car company.
  • When shopping, make sure you keep all your purchases in the trunk of your car and out of sight. You could end up having to make two insurance claims if your vehicle is broken into and your purchases are stolen — damage to your car you would have to claim under your automobile policy, and loss of your possessions you would have claim under your home policy.
  • If you are putting lights on your tree, ensure that they are in good condition and the wiring is not frayed. Unsafe lights could be a hazard, resulting in an electrical outage or, worse, a fire.
  • Avoid having any gifts visible from any window in your home. This could be a temptation to potential thieves. The last thing you want to deal with during the holiday season is a breaking and entering, and consequent theft.
  • Plan your drinking ahead of time. Are you going to parties or dinners out and planning to consume alcohol? Ensure you have the number to a cab company on hand or arrange for a designated driver. R.I.D.E. programs will be in full effect and you may be pulled over. Plus, drinking and driving comes with myriad consequences that you’ll want to avoid all year round, not just during the holidays.
  • If you are planning on hosting a holiday dinner or party, make sure that you have non-alcoholic drinks available for your guests. If you feel that it’s not safe for a guest to drive home because they have had too much alcohol, call them a taxi and let them know they can keep their car at your residence, or, if necessary, have them stay the night.
  • If you are going away for the holidays, have a neighbour check your house, collect your mail and pick up any newspapers that come to your door every day. If you are planning on being away for an extended period of time, check in with your insurance professional. Home insurance policies contain a clause that states you must have someone check your home (particularly in the winter) to ensure that the heating is on and the pipes haven’t frozen. It pays to check — you don’t want to find out after the fact that you may have negated your coverage.

And while you’re doing your best to stay safe during the holiday season, why not mitigate the risk that you are overpaying on car insurance? InsuranceHotline.com lets you compare your rate with the lowest rate available from over 30 competing insurers, instantly and for free.