Black Friday Safety: How Insurance May Help
Black Friday is an opportune time for criminals to play the Grinch. Each year, more than 1.7 million packages are lost or stolen, according to a recent Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute study. These missing goods cost retailers and customers more than $25 million.
In this article, you'll learn which coverages can protect you if a criminal spoils your Black Friday.
What Should I Do If I'm Robbed on Black Friday?
Your homeowners insurance's personal property coverage may reimburse you if holiday bandits steal your belongings, from your home and off-premises, including from your car. This coverage pays to repair or replace your things after a covered loss, such as theft.
Before Black Friday arrives, review your home insurance policy to see how it covers your belongings. Find out if your policy uses actual cash value or replacement cost value.
Actual Cash Value vs Replacement Cost Personal Property Coverage
Actual cash value is cheaper than replacement cost coverage; however, it won't reimburse you for the current retail price of your stolen items. Your carriers will pay their depreciated value, which means you won't get the full amount to buy a new item.
For instance, if you spend money on a new $2,500 laptop, your insurer may only pay $2,000 based on the depreciated value of the laptop.
Your insurer will reimburse you for the full retail price of stolen gifts if your policy has replacement cost coverage. With this type of coverage, the carrier won't consider depreciation, and you can replace your purchases with new ones at the current market value.
For instance, if someone steals a $2,000 computer you purchased for a family member and another computer (with identical features) costs $2,500, the insurer will replace the stolen at its current retail value of $2,500.
Will Comprehensive Car Insurance Reimburse Me for Stolen Items at Black Friday Sales?
No, your comprehensive auto insurance won't reimburse you when thieves steal presents from your car. Look to your homeowners or renters policy to cover these losses. Comprehensive coverage only pays for vehicle damages that are out of your control, such as vandalism, broken windows, etc. Although comprehensive insurance also covers theft, it only pays when someone steals your vehicle. It doesn't reimburse you for items a thief steals from your car's interior.
For instance, if a robber breaks your car's rear window to steal a gaming system and other presents you purchased for your children, comprehensive coverage would pay for your window repairs and your homeowners insurance off-premises coverage would apply to the gaming console.
Therefore, your standard homeowners or renters insurance may reimburse you for gifts stolen from your car on or after Black Friday with your off-premises coverage, which protects your belongings when you're away from home.
How Much Off-Premises Coverage Do I Have?
Off-premises coverage protects your belongings against theft, including when a thief steals them from your vehicle. Your limit for this coverage is 10% of your dwelling insurance. You must also pay a shared cost, called a deductible, before the insurer will cover your claim. The average deductible is $1,000 but you can choose a lower one. Carriers also cap how much they'll reimburse you for expenses.
For instance, if a thief steals gifts from your car, you'll have to meet your, say, $1,000 deductible. If the value of your gifts doesn't exceed $1,000, you can't make a claim. If the gifts cost, say, $1600, the insurer will require you to meet your $1,000 deductible first, before they'll pay the remaining $600.
If your gifts totaled $1,500 and you have a $1,000 coverage limit, your provider would require you to meet the, say, $1,000 deductible before paying the remaining $500.
Your provider may also exclude off-premises coverage in certain areas, so speak with your local insurance agent to learn what your policy covers.
Parking Lot Fender Benders: What Insurance Covers My Repairs?
Car accidents in parking lots increase around Black Friday, compared to normal Fridays. Your car insurance may cover repairs to your vehicle if you have an accidental fender bender while holiday shopping.
- An accident caused by another driver: Their liability insurance may pay for your medical and car repairs.
- You caused the accident: Your collision coverage will pay for your vehicle repairs. Your liability insurance would pay for the other driver's repairs.
- An uninsured driver hits your car: Your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will pay for property damage if a holiday shopper without insurance hits your vehicle.
Battle Royale Injures During Shopping: Which Coverage Pays?
Did you accidentally mow down another person while trying to grab a deal on a television or gaming system? Are they now suing you in court because you injured them during a battle royale in the store? If so, your homeowners insurance liability coverage may pay your legal costs. This coverage may also pay for the other shopper's medical costs up to your policy's limits.
Another issue you may have to worry about during Black Friday is identity theft. These cases may occur when thieves steal your wallet, checkbook or other documents, even off your computer or phone. Some homeowners insurance policies contain identity theft coverage, which can help you to repair your credit and restore your identity. These policies cost $25 to $30 a year.
Black Friday Safety Tips
Here are several tips that can protect you during the holiday shopping season?
- Shop online - Although there are some in-store promotions, most retailers will offer the same promotions online, but make sure your computer is secure from breaches.
- Use one credit card in case your credit card is compromised in a breach. Using a single credit card ensures you won't compromise all of them, and you'll only need to make one cancellation call.
- Store shopping bags out of sight inside the trunk or covered by a blanket to prevent thieves from targeting your vehicle.
- Park in well-lit areas, close to entrances and keep your keys in hand when walking to and from your car.
- Don't carry around large amounts of cash.
- Don't let strangers help you with your bags.
- Don't pull out your wallet in public, even to make cash donations.
- Watch for shoulder surfers at ATMs who may look for your PIN as it is entered.
- Leave your kids at home during Black Friday. If you take kids with you, hold on to them to avoid being separated.
- Use cross-body purses when moving through crowded aisles.
- Don't become distracted by staring at your tablet or smartphone in a store.
Get Homeowners Insurance to Protect Your Assets During the Holiday Season
During Black Friday, it's likely you'll purchase many gifts for your partner, friends or family. It's essential that you have homeowner insurance to protect your valuables during the holiday season. These policies not only provide you with coverage for belongings off-premises and in your home, they also provide liability protection if someone decides to sue you for injuries or damages.
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