How to Prevent Grinch Visits Over the Holidays

Here’s a warning as the holiday season approaches: Wrapped presents don’t just excite kids – they tantalize burglars. And this comes with a big price tag; the average amount of property stolen in a home burglary is $2,119.

Here are some tips on preventing burglaries that are specially designed to prevent Grinch visits and on making claims:

Be prepared:

  • Don’t advertise your winter holiday on Facebook.
  • Risk is high before, during and after the holidays. Most burglaries occur when daytime routines return to normal.
  • Use classic “burglar prevention” techniques: light timers, holding subscriptions and mail, etc.
  • Recipients may not see the gifts you sneak in, but burglars might. Bring gifts home disguised and after dark.
  • Don’t pile empty boxes on trash day. It’s too obvious.
  • After a burglary, the chances of being burglarized again increase. Burglars know you’ll replace stolen items.

Only 21 percent of stolen property is recovered. Insurance is the best way of compensating for a loss. When choosing coverage and making claims, remember:

  • Avoid actual cash value (ACV) coverage, which considers depreciation. ACV covers cost at time of loss, meaning you won’t receive the full value of the item. Replacement cost coverage doesn’t consider depreciation, so that if someone steals your TV set, with replacement cost coverage, you would receive a TV set of like value.
  • You usually need proof of ownership of stolen items. This could include receipts, videos, photos and model numbers.
  • Usually premiums increase after claims, especially thefts. If policyholders become categorized as high risk, insurers can cancel or not renew policies after theft or fire claims.

It’s far better to prevent thefts as best you can than pay the emotional and financial costs of being a theft victim.