Christmas Thieves and Vandals

Fran Majidi
December 23, 2020

The good news about the pandemic is that many more people are spending Christmas at home, so the usual break-ins that occur this time of year will be at a minimum. That will be just one positive takeaway for 2020. However, many people are ignoring advice from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and continuing with their usual travel plans, leaving their homes and even their cars exposed to vandals and thieves.

Also, those of us who stay local still step away from home, and a Christmas tree is a sure sign of expensive, fresh-in-the-box items that are easy to steal in one quick snatch. And backseats full of gifts are yet another invitation to get robbed. Your car is not as invulnerable to break-ins as you may think. Also, during desperate times, people may even consider smashing a window to get your goods.

While we can’t spend the entire holiday worrying about theft, there are a few things to keep in mind to prevent theft. And there are certain types of insurance claims that may help you recoup some of your losses, if you end up being one of the unlucky ones.

Christmas Tree

Avoid keeping your Christmas tree near a window or the entrance of your home. The less visible and the farther it is away from an intruder’s path, the more likely the thief will be deterred. If you have a home security system in your home, all the better. Not only will your home insurance company award you a discount, thieves usually run when they see signs of security devices.

Gifts in the Car

You’re asking for trouble if you leave gifts wrapped and ready-for-the-taking. If possible do not leave your car alone while it is full of presents. This may be hard to do if you’re doing a last-minute dash for gifts, but at least try to keep them in the trunk so a thief is not sure about the contents in your car. After Christmas, bring all your gifts inside. Don’t leave wrapping paper and bows in the car because they may invite a break-in.

Away for the Holidays

If you won’t be around for the holidays, it’s best that you somehow avoid letting thieves know it. Ask neighbors to bring in the mail, collect the newspaper (better yet, pause all subscriptions) and do what they can to help it appear as if you’re home. Yes, shoveling snow helps for sure! So do the footprints in the snow. Security systems are always a good idea, and the cost will eventually be offset by your home insurance discounts. There are devices that turn lights on and off throughout the house at intervals so it appears as if there is human activity inside.

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Lock Windows and Doors

You should always be in the habit of doing this, but especially so during the holidays, when the house is full of expensive stuff you’ll be giving to one another. Even after the holidays, there’s still a risk of being burglarized.

Limit Guests

If you’re having a party, it only takes one person looking to do a bad thing for gifts to be stolen. Have a safe place to keep gifts after unwrapping them and make sure that space is not one where guests wander.

I Got Robbed -- Now What?

Did you buy items with a credit card? If so they may be insured. This is the first route to take because filing homeowners insurance or renters insurance will raise your rate. So call your credit card companies right away if something goes missing.

If you paid cash, there’s still hope. Homeowners insurance and renters insurance may cover some of your losses if you have an inventory of the items that were stolen. You’ll need a police report in order to file a claim. So do that first and then contact your insurance agent on how to take steps to start a claims process.

If your items were stolen out of your car, you’ll still need to file a claim with homeowners or renters insurance. While it may seem as if comprehensive coverage would cover the loss, that’s not the case. Comprehensive coverage would only protect you if the car itself were stolen. However, if your car was damaged in the process of getting robbed, comprehensive would cover repairs if you have a police report.

Get Insured

It takes a few minutes to buy insurance if you don’t already have it. It’s always a good idea to have coverages like comprehensive auto insurance and renters insurance or homeowners insurance, even when you’re not required to carry it. As you can see, major losses are covered if you’re properly insured. If you’re not, you have a total loss.

Beware of Pickpockets

If you are going to the mall in the next day or two, be aware of your surroundings. Christmas is not just known for Santa and his reindeer, it’s known for pickpockets! So, take our tips on how to stay safe and hopefully, you won’t have any losses during this magical holiday season.

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