Are you planning on traveling out of state this Christmas? Before loading up the car with Christmas presents for your out-of-town relatives, you should plan ahead for the possibility of those gifts getting stolen somewhere on the route. While none of us ever plan on becoming robbed, car burglaries increase during the Christmas season with thieves divesting travelers of both their luggage and their carefully wrapped Christmas presents.
Unfortunately as most people discover too late, preparing for the possibility of theft before it happens is the only way to minimize your loss.
Check out insurance options before Christmas shopping. Most of assume that our auto policy or homeowners policy would protect us against theft. Surprisingly, the best coverage you will get is through your credit card company’s “purchase protection” plan. Purchase protection policies vary between credit card companies which is why calling for details before buying Christmas gifts is a sensible strategy. Most credit cards offer this plan at no charge; high end credit card companies offer generous terms, others may charge a small fee for upgrades, have certain restrictions such as $1000 limits, or may limit coverage to those items purchased close to home.
Once you’ve called around to find which of your cards has the best purchase protection plan, pay for all your Christmas gifts with that particular card instead of using cash or a debit card. Using the right credit card for Christmas shopping means that you’re covered if the gifts get stolen while on the road.
Save receipts. No matter if you are filing a claim through the credit card or homeowners policy, you must have the original receipts. These are best kept in a secure location and not tucked in the Christmas gifts.
Inventory the Christmas gifts traveling with you. Itemizing your Christmas gifts expedites the insurance claim in case of theft. For high ticket items such as televisions, computers, and electronics, include the serial numbers as well.
Hide gifts in the trunk. Don’t make your Christmas gifts a target for thieves in the first place. Hiding them in a locked trunk gets them out of site, and may lower the risk of a break in.
So what happens if the Christmas gifts do get stolen from the car? Call the police first to file a report, and then contact your credit card company as well. The card company will take it from there.