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Holiday purchases: 3 tricks to reduce the risk of theft

Published on December 19, 2018

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For most people, the holidays are all about sharing. For others, it’s the perfect time to go on a stealing spree. L’Unique General Insurance has a few tricks to help you reduce the chances of ruining this magical time of year by a malicious act...

  1. Don’t leave your purchased items in the car while you shop
    Approximately 23,000 items were stolen from vehicles in Quebec in 2015 according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the Groupement des assureurs automobiles (GAA). The holiday season appears to be the ideal time for this kind of theft.

    Have no choice but to leave your purchases in the car unattended?
    • Hide them in the trunk.
    • If you’re going back into the same store or shopping centre after placing your purchased items in your vehicle, move your car to throw off the would-be thieves who may have targeted you.
    • Make sure the doors are locked and the windows are completely closed.
    Did a thief manage to break into your car and make off with your property, despite your efforts? In that event, you need to make a home insurance claim for the stolen property and an auto insurance claim for any damage caused to the vehicle by the thief.
  2. Be discrete with oversized gifts
    Oversized purchases or gifts are usually more valuable. That’s why seasoned thieves pay attention to boxes you leave outside your home. There are simple ways to avoid attracting thieves to your home when you receive or purchase oversized items.
    • Cut down oversized boxes until they fit in your recycling bin. It’s better not to leave them out in the open or place them on the sidewalk. If you can’t fit them into your recycling bin, hide them inside and wait for the morning your recycling is collected before taking them out.
    • If the items are delivered by a department store, ask if they can take the boxes before they leave. Some department stores even offer to take your old appliances when they deliver new ones.
  3. Reduce the risks when there is nobody home
    The holidays are a time when many people travel to visit friends and family. If your home will be unattended, even for just a few hours, the following steps will help keep would-be thieves at bay:
    • Lock all doors and windows, including the garage and shed.
    • Make sure the outside of your home is well lit, both in front and in the back. It’s best to have lights that are equipped with motion sensors.
    • Make sure the outside of your home is well lit, both in front and in the back. It’s best to have lights that are equipped with motion sensors.
    • If you have an alarm system, set it.
    If you’ll be away for several days, take additional precautionary measures to reduce the risk of theft:
    • Make sure the snow from your driveway and stairs continue to get cleared.
    • Give a spare key (and if necessary the code of your alarm system) to someone you trust. Ask this person to:
      • Visit your home at least once a week to make sure everything is all right.
      • Pick up your mail.
      • Take out and bring back your garbage and recycling bins on collection day.
      • Move your vehicle from time to time or park another vehicle in your parking space if it’s empty.
    • If you own valuable items, place them in a secure area, preferably somewhere other than your home.
    • If your home is equipped with an alarm system that's connected to a central monitoring station, send the suppliers your departure and return dates, and give them the contact information of the person who’ll be keeping an eye on your home while you’re away.

Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Feel free to contact him or her!

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