Car Safety Tips for the Holiday Shopping Season

By Insurance.com Posted : 12/01/2006

On your mark, credit cards set and go…to the nearest mall, because it is holiday shopping time. That's right; soon millions of consumers will be flooding the malls in search of the perfect gifts for everyone on their shopping list. But before you hop in your car and drive to the nearest mall, you may want to check out our Holiday Shopping Car Safety Tips - it just might make the difference between a happy holiday season and a disastrous one.

Holiday Mall Parking Lot
Many things can happen to your vehicle in a mall parking lot while you are inside happily holiday shopping away. For instance, your car can get damaged by opening doors, rolling shopping carts or testy drivers trying to fit into tight parking spots. While this may seem like the price your car has to pay for trying to go to the mall during the holidays - it doesn't have to be. There are many things you can do to help keep you and your car safe while at the mall this holiday season.

Popular Shopping Malls
After work and weekends are the most popular times for people to go holiday shopping. With that being said, consider shopping during the day or before noon on weekends. This will not only help you avoid over crowded mall parking lots, it will also help you to get in and out of stores quickly!

In addition, avoid going to popular malls in your area during peak shopping hours. This will help reduce the amount of cars and people you have to dodge and help keep your car safe from potential theft and damage. To help identify the most popular malls in your area, we have listed the Top 10 Largest Shopping Malls in the United States - so you can avoid what could potentially turn into a holiday shopping nightmare.

Largest Shopping Malls in the United States

  1. South Coast Plaza, Orange County, CA
  2. King of Prussia Mall, Philadelphia, PA
  3. Sawgrass Mills, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  4. Del Amo Fashion Cetner, Los Angeles, CA
  5. Mall of America, Minneapolis-St Paul, MN
  6. Grand Canyon Parkway, Las Vegas, NV
  7. The Galleria, Houston, TX
  8. Woodfield Mall, Chicago, IL
  9. Plaza Las Americas, San Juan, PR
  10. Roosevelt Field Mall, New York, NY

Stay Safe During The Holiday Season
No matter when or where you go holiday shopping, safety should always be your first priority - especially when it comes to your car. That's because mall and shopping center parking lots are prime targets for car theft, car vandalism and robberies.

To help prevent this from happening to you, Insurance.com has provided some helpful Holiday Shopping Safety Tips to keep you and your car safe and secure during the holiday season.

Holiday Shopping and Driving Safety Tips

  • Always park in a spot where there is plenty of light and if possible, park close to your destination.
  • Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
  • Close all windows and lock all doors.
  • Take note of where you parked your car and what store entrance it is closest to.
  • Shop with a friend or family member - having a friend walk to and from the parking lot with you will help keep you both safe and sound.
  • Place your packages in your trunk or under your seat where no one can see them.
  • Condense your packages into one or two bags to create the illusion that you did not purchase so many valuable (and theft-worthy) items.
  • If you run out to your car to drop off packages while shopping, make sure to move your car to a new location before heading back into the mall. This will help lead anyone that is watching you to believe that you and your packages have headed home for the night.
  • Leave your most expensive purchases until the end of the day when you can quickly hop in your car and go directly home.
  • Request for a security guard to escort to your car.
  • When walking to your car have your head up and your keys ready, the last thing you want to do is appear vulnerable to criminals. In addition, make sure to look under and in front of your car to make sure that no one is waiting to attack you.
  • Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Often thieves will disguise themselves as normal shoppers who accidentally bump into you stealing your purse, wallet, packages, car keys or even worse, attacking you.
  • When entering your car, make sure to check your front seat and back seat for anyone that could potentially be hiding in the car.
  • Get into the car, lock the doors and exit the area immediately. Criminals prey on shoppers who sit in their cars to make phone calls or review their purchases for the day. Don't leave yourself susceptible to such a risk.

What Your Auto Insurance Coverage Won't Cover
Through the course of a shopping day, many people will take packages to and from their car to lessen the load while they are walking through the mall. Even though this may seem like a great idea at the time, it is not if the gifts are stolen from your car. That's because many auto insurance company will not cover holiday packages stolen from a policy holder's car - even if they were securely stored in your trunk. However, if you paid for your gifts with a credit card you might be in luck! Some credit card companies will cover stolen purchases if they were paid for with their credit card, but if you paid with cash or check, you are out of luck.

Regardless of how you paid for your gifts, you should always file a police report to help alert police of the incident and to potentially prevent this crime from happening to someone else.

Upgrade or change Your Auto Insurance
If your auto insurance policy does not cover stolen property from your vehicle and you would like to find an auto insurance company that does, log on to Insurance.com's auto insurance comparison application. Here, you will be able to evaluate multiple rates from best-in-class insurance providers - helping you find the best auto insurance coverage for you and your holiday shopping needs.

Insurance.com wishes you and your family a safe and secure holiday driving season.

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