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Kenton Brine, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo


Consumer Alert

Shopping on Black Friday? Make a dent in your holiday list... not your car

What To Know

  • Auto accidents increase up to 34 percent on Black Friday.
  • Make sure you have the right coverage for a parking lot fender-bender
  • Your auto policy will not cover gifts and most personal possessions stolen from your car, but your Homeowners or Renters policy will cover your belongings.

SEATTLE, November 22, 2016Millions of shoppers will rush to malls and stores to snag the best deals on “Black Friday,” November 25. That means roads and parking lots will be busy and crowded, increasing the chance of getting into an auto accident by as much as 34 percent, according to an insurance company study.

“Roads will be busy, parking will be scarce and drivers will be distracted and impatient,” said Kenton Brine, president of the NW Insurance Council. “We urge drivers to be patient, alert and courteous­­ – especially in parking lots – to help prevent an accident or worse. And before you go, make sure you have the right insurance coverage for any mishaps on the busiest shopping day of the year.”

Drive safely
Many vehicles have safety technology such as rear view cameras and radar systems that can help avoid accidents, especially when backing up. But even if your vehicle has advanced safety features, it’s important to exercise extra caution. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates 292 people are killed and 18,000 are injured each year by drivers who back into them, usually in driveways or parking lots.

Have the right coverage
If you do get into an accident, it’s important to know what your Auto Policy covers. A basic policy typically provides property, medical and liability coverage – mostly to compensate others and defend you if you are responsible for the accident.  It’s wise to consider additional coverage, for damage to your vehicle (comprehensive and/or collision coverage) and to protect you, your family and your vehicle if you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Guard against theft
Car prowlers may be lurking in store parking lots waiting to steal gifts from unattended vehicles or to steal the entire vehicle. New data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows that nearly 2,300 vehicles were stolen on Black Friday in 2015.
Practicing safety measures and knowing you have adequate auto coverage could save extra headaches during the hustle and bustle of Black Friday.

NW Insurance Council offers the following safety and insurance tips:


  • Drive slow and with extra caution in parking lots, especially when backing up.
  • Be cautious when backing out of a parking space. Watch for other drivers and pedestrians, especially children.
  • Be patient, alert and courteous behind the wheel. Try not to block other parking spaces and don’t park too close to other vehicles.
  • Look for spaces further back from the store for easier, stress-free parking and some healthy walking! Also, return shopping carts to their corrals.
  • Never use your cell phone or other mobile device while driving.
  • Always wear your seatbelt, even in parking lots.
  • Check your Auto Insurance Policy. If you have optional Comprehensive Coverage, your vehicle is covered if it’s stolen (minus your deductible).  However, your auto policy will not cover gifts and most personal possessions stolen from your car.  Your Homeowners or Renters policy does cover your belongings, including gifts, but only after you pay the deductible, which is usually $250 or more.   
  • Prevent the theft of your vehicle by following NICB’s Four Layers of Protection.
  • Whenever possible, store gifts and other valuables in your trunk; manually lock your vehicle’s doors; and don’t go back and forth frequently from stores to your vehicle to unload gifts.  Car prowlers watch for shoppers who leave gifts in their vehicles unattended.

Filing A Claim:

  • If an accident occurs, call for medical assistance immediately if anyone is injured. Even if an accident seems minor, report it to the police and your insurer immediately.
  • If it’s safe to do so, use your smartphone to take pictures of damage caused by the accident.
  • Keep your insurance company’s claims reporting number in your wallet or purse and always carry your vehicle registration and insurance card.
  • Store a notebook and pen in the car to help you record important information about an accident, including the other driver’s insurance policy number, contact information and driver’s and vehicle license numbers.

For more information, call (800) 664-4942 or visit

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education and public policy organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.