Top 5 Tips for a Safe, Secure Holiday Season

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How to Work with Your Insurance Agent to Make Sure You're Covered During the Holidays

Lacking the right protection or policy limits can mean financial catastrophe for a family in the event of an accident

You won't find a holiday card depicting the family dog biting the boss while thieves make off with the minivan full of presents and a drunken houseguest trips down the steps. It's not a holiday vision that anyone wants, but accidents happen, and the holiday season is the best time to make sure you and your family are covered.

Tim Gaspar, president of Gaspar Insurance Services - one of the fastest growing agencies in Los Angeles - has compiled a pre-holiday checklist to ensure you're covered.

"Lacking the right protection or policy limits can mean financial catastrophe for a family in the event of an accident," Gaspar says. "Holidays mean more guests, more driving, and more new possessions than any other time of year. It's important to make sure all your presents, parties and travels don't fall outside your current coverage."

Gaspar has provided a list of helpful insurance tips for the holiday season.

5. Presents

  •     Check your Homeowner's policy. Most cover gifts, even if they are stolen from your car.
  •     If you are making any big purchases such as entertainments systems, appliances or jewelry, let your agent know right away so they can make adjustments to your policy.

4. Parties

  •     Check your deductible. Hosting a party is fun, but it can also lead to theft or damage.
  •     Parties lead to overindulgence, check keys at the door and have a taxi company on file.
  •     Keep walkways clear and well lit to minimize falls.
  •     Talk with your agent about how you'll be covered if a guest is injured while in your home. Lawsuits are common, make sure a dog or loose brick doesn't cost you in the long run.

3. Cars

  •     If you follow the advertising and park a new vehicle in your driveway this Christmas, check insurance rates online before you buy so you know what to expect.
  •     Most insurance companies cover a new car purchase for 30 days if you have an existing policy. Check with your agent to find out the best way to keep your new car safe.
  •     If visiting friends or family will be using your car during their stay, make sure they are covered under your policy.

2. Small Businesses

  •     If you own your own business, the new year is a common time for policy renewals. Get a jump on 2010 by speaking with your agent about options for health care and workman's comp before your policy expires. You might be able to get a deal before the rates go up.
  •     If you shut down between Christmas and New Years, check all locks and alarms.

1. Travel

  •     When families travel, empty houses can be a burglary risk. When travelling, take your agent's contact info in case there's an emergency on your trip or at your house.
  •     Keep a copy of your policy in a safe place such as a safe or bank box, and make sure a trusted friend or relative can access it in case of emergency.
  •     If you have an alarm system installed, tell your agent, almost all insurance companies offer a discount on your homeowner's policy when you have an alarm.
  •     If you live in Los Angeles County, make sure you get a city alarm permit. The fines are costly if the police show up to a call and your installation hasn't been permitted.
  •     Always ask your agent about coverage before a big trip. If you'll be driving in a foreign country, make sure your insurance policy has you covered. Most assume their credit cards offers automatic international coverage but not all do.

The holidays should be a special time for enjoying with the people you care about. A simple phone call to your insurance agent can ensure that your Christmas worries will be no more serious than figuring out what to do with the leftover fruitcake.

Timothy Gaspar Insurance Services brings creative protection solutions to Los Angeles residents and business owners. Specialties include casualty and property insurance, estate and collectibles coverage, identity theft protection, even kidnap/ransom policies. For more information, please contact Timothy Gaspar Insurance Services, 6345 Balboa Blvd. #290 Encino, CA 91316, or call (818) 609-7575 ext. 260.

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