Black Friday Safety: How Insurance May Help

Black Friday can pose some risks if you’re not careful. During this day with the best deals of the year, Black Friday is also a day full of break-ins, injuries and identity theft. Fortunately, having the right insurance coverage will help you recoup any losses.

Saving money is great but don’t forget about your personal safety. Learn how you can protect yourself on Black Friday plus tips for shopping safely.

Why Do You Need Insurance on Black Friday?

Insurance can cover you on Black Friday when you need it — whether it’s somebody vandalizing your home, a thief breaking into your car or a fellow shopper getting too aggressive. Here are some examples below.

At Home

Travelers told Fortune that home thefts increased 2%, on average, during Black Friday. Homeowners or renters insurance is necessary if somebody breaks into your home and steals your personal property. Remember: Black Friday immediately follows Thanksgiving parties and some stores may open their doors at midnight. People, still drunk and rowdy from partying, may engage in criminal activity.

Fortunately, homeowners and renters insurance list theft and vandalism as covered perils. If somebody breaks into your home and steals your belongings, a standard policy will reimburse you for your losses at actual cash value (ACV).

Your Vehicle

If somebody breaks into your car and steals your property, you may be covered by both auto and home insurance. The comprehensive portion of your auto policy (if you have it) would pay for the car damages (e.g., broken window, smashed door locks), while your home policy would reimburse you for the ACV of your stolen items.

If you get into a car accident and it is your fault, your liability coverage will pay for the other driver’s or pedestrian’s property damages and injuries. Collision insurance and Medpay/PIP coverage pay for damages to your car and injuries if you’re at fault.

While Shopping

If you’re shopping in person, beware of zealous bargain hunters. Past incidents have shown that people are willing to argue, fight and trample each other over discounted products. If you suffer an injury, health insurance may cover the cost of treatment. Otherwise, you will need to pay for the cost of medical care out of pocket.

Shopping online exposes you to personal identity theft. Many insurance policies sell identity theft protection as a policy endorsement, which will cover identity recovery expenses. To minimize your risk, avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi networks and purchase online from reputable vendors only.

If somebody breaks into your home and steals your belongings, a standard homeowners or renters policy will reimburse you for your losses at actual cash value.

Is Shopping on Black Friday Safe?

Depending on the foot traffic and the popularity of the store, shopping on Black Friday could pose some safety risks. Thieves may target cars parked in store parking lots that have merchandise inside. Thefts on Black Friday are 28% higher than the rest of the year.

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What Should You Do if You’re Robbed on Black Friday?

If you’re robbed on Black Friday, immediately go to a secure location and report the crime to the police. Wait for the police to arrive and give your statement. If any witnesses were present, ask them to give their testimony or request their contact information. You should also ask the officer how you can obtain a copy of the police report.

Next, you should file an insurance claim to get reimbursed for your losses. Your insurance company should provide instructions on how you can submit a copy of the police report. Depending on where and how the robbery occurred, your home or auto insurance policy may cover your stolen property.

  • If your home was burglarized, a standard home policy will cover your losses up to your policy limits.
  • If you are pickpocketed while away from home, the off-premise coverage portion of your homeowners or renters policy would cover your losses.
  • If somebody broke into your car and stole your property, the comprehensive portion of your auto policy will pay for damages to your car (or replace it, if it was stolen). Your home insurance policy may reimburse you for any stolen items.

If somebody breaks into your car and steals your property, you may be covered by both auto and home insurance.

What Should You Do if You’re Injured While Shopping on Black Friday

If your injuries are minor, you should return home and refrain from shopping in person. If you’re unable to drive and went shopping alone, consider arranging for somebody to pick you up or ordering a rideshare service. When you get home, you can try home remedies, such as taking an aspirin or applying ice to sore spots.

If your injuries are more serious, you may need to visit your doctor or call 911 if your life is in immediate danger. If you have health insurance and visit an in-network provider, there is generally no need to file a health insurance claim, as the facility will do so on your behalf. Keep in mind that copays, coinsurance and deductibles are expenses you will need to pay upfront and out of pocket.

If you feel like the company was negligent in securing your safety as a customer, you may want to consult a legal attorney. In 2015, Kansas woman Amanda DuVall, 28, sued Walmart for negligence after being trampled by other Walmart shoppers over $49.99 tablets on Black Friday in 2013. DuVall claims that Walmart did not do enough to keep her safe. The case was settled but the terms were not disclosed publicly.

Tips on How To Stay Safe on Black Friday

Here are some Black Friday safety tips to follow when shopping in-store:

  • Store your wallet and cell phone inside a pocket with a zipper, your front pocket or inside your coat pocket.
  • Monitor your credit card spending for suspicious activity in the weeks following Black Friday.
  • Use only one credit card to minimize your exposure to data breaches.
  • Don’t flash how much cash you’re holding in front of other people.
  • Don’t fight with other customers over items.
  • Keep your purse zipped shut and close to your body.

Here’s how you can stay safe while driving and parking your car.

  • Double-check that you’ve locked your vehicle.
  • Do not text and drive.
  • Drive slowly in parking lots.
  • Park your car in a well-lit area.
  • Take valuables out of your car and leave it at home.
  • Store your shopping bags in the trunk, out of sight.
  • Don’t drive while drowsy — pull over for a cup of coffee and wait till you are energized enough to drive again.
  • Back up slowly and double-check for pedestrians.
  • Do not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Be watchful of other drivers who may be driving while intoxicated.

Below are tips on how you can protect your information if you decide to shop online this Black Friday:

  • Shop with reputable retailers.
  • Learn how to spot scams, specifically those that offer Black Friday sales too good to be true.
  • Shop with credit cards instead of debit cards because the former typically has increased consumer protections.
  • Shop using a secure Wi-Fi connection.
  • Avoid connecting public Wi-Fi networks to complete purchases.
  • Double-check the website for a phishing URL. Scammers create pages that look like secure sites but are actually website look-alikes that steal your information.

When shopping online, use credit cards instead of debit cards because the former typically has increased consumer protections.

FAQs

When is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the Friday immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday, which is the last Thursday of November.

What is the best time to shop on Black Friday?

If you want to avoid crowds, avoid visiting stores between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., which are peak shopping hours according to a 2021 survey by Statista. However, you may want to shop earlier if you want to snag the best deals while they’re still available.

Do insurance companies have discounts on Black Friday?

Auto insurance companies generally do not offer policy discounts on Black Friday. However, other car insurance discounts may be available year-round, for being a good driver or for completing a defensive driving course.

Should you avoid going out on Black Friday?

Staying home on Black Friday can help you avoid car accidents and aggressive customers but these should not stop you if you enjoy shopping in person. Just be sure to drive and shop with caution.

Why is it called Black Friday?

Black Friday’s name refers to when bookkeeping was done by hand and used red and black ink. The spike in sales on Black Friday helped some companies switch from using red ink (operating at a loss) to black ink (operating at a profit).

Key Takeaways

  • The average number of thefts increases on Black Friday.
  • Homeowners and auto insurance will cover your home and car if somebody breaks into either and steals your personal belongings.
  • Health insurance will cover your medical expenses if you are injured and need treatment.
  • If you are robbed, go to a safe location, contact the police and then file an insurance claim with your provider.

Whether it’s home, auto or health insurance, SmartFinancial can help you find the cheapest policy in your area. Just enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to receive your free insurance quotes.

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