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Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Coordinator

NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (206) 624-3330/(800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo


Holiday Shoppers: parking lot thieves are after your gifts and your car

SEATTLE - The hustle and bustle of holiday shopping has begun. While rushing from store to store, remember you are not the only one looking for a hot deal. Parking lot thieves are on the prowl, preying on inattentive shoppers and hoping to cash in at your expense.

If you have optional Comprehensive Coverage on your Auto Insurance Policy, your vehicle is covered if it's stolen. 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.

That's why it's important to take extra precautions as you shop from store to store and get in and out of your vehicle.

"Unless it's permanently attached to your car, most Auto Insurance policies don't cover your personal belongings," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "As always, you'll save yourself a lot of headaches by taking steps ahead of time to reduce the risk of a break-in."

As you shop, be wary that car prowlers are lurking in parking lots waiting to steal gifts from unattended cars. Here are a few tips from NW Insurance Council to help you shop safely and worry free:

  • Review your insurance policy and consider adding Comprehensive coverage if you don't already have it.
  • Whenever possible, store gifts and other valuables in your trunk. If this isn't possible, throw a blanket over gifts before you leave your vehicle unattended.
  • Manually lock your vehicle's doors. Do not use your remote locking device. Many high-tech thieves have begun using scanning devices to record remote lock frequencies to unlock vehicles.
  • Double-check to make sure your doors are locked.
  • 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.

If you have questions about your Homeowners or Renters insurance, check your policy or call your insurance agent or company. For more information on how to protect your vehicle and gifts from theft, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 or visit

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