Insuring Your Cheer This Holiday Season
Gatherings with family and friends, picking out the perfect gift, traveling to meet that special someone, and celebrating a religious tradition are all activities that make the Holiday Season a time to remember. Sadly, there are individuals in our society that will make this Season a time to forget for unsuspecting and unprepared homeowners and consumers. As you go about your Holiday planning and preparation, we want to encourage you to be alert and prepared for the rise is home and identity theft that occur this time of the year.
According to local police departments, a rise in home intrusion and theft occurs every year around the Holidays. The theory to explain the rise is rather straightforward – people are busy and in turn don’t think and or take the time to properly secure their possessions, particularly their homes. Forgetting to lock doors, leave on appropriate lighting and advise neighbors of extended time away all contribute to the rise in theft occurrences. What follows are a few additional tips to make your home more secure:
• Lock doors and windows every time you leave the house, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Reports show that 59% of home burglaries occur during the day.
• Advise at least two neighbors of when you’ll be away for an extended period of time (more than one day) and ask them to pick up your mail and newspaper.
• Set up an appropriate level of indoor and outdoor lighting triggered by a timer.
Finally, consider adding a home security system. The FBI recently published statistics citing that the burglary rate of home without a security system is 1 in 3 versus homes with a security system is 1 in 250. In addition, homeowners with security systems are also likely to qualify for insurance discounts.
In addition to protecting your home, we also encourage you to protect your identity. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of identity theft occurrences are not accomplished in the online world. Stories of high end computer hackers gaining access to information make for great storylines and do occur, but you are much more likely to be compromised if you neglect to act on the following important best practices:
• Shred everything that contains personal information prior to throwing it out.
• Keep your social security card, passport and any credit cards you don’t actively use secured at home.
• Take credit card receipts with you instead of leaving them behind.
• Keep your computer virus and spyware software up to date.
Take proactive steps to secure a safe and happy Holiday Season.