Your Car, Your Finances: Surviving Holiday Disasters

Some stores, like Macy’s or Target, have built their reputations on the famously hectic annual Black Friday sale. Walmart Black Friday is like a whole holiday onto itself. It only gets worse as Christmas and Hanukkah rear their heads. We’re here to help you navigate one of this season’s biggest traditions without any losses, mishaps or accidents along the way. If you’re in a car accident over the holidays, things could get hairy without the right insurance coverage. Learn more about different types of accidents and the insurance that covers them below.

Parking Lot Accidents

It’s shopping season even before Black Friday, so you know shopping centers and malls will be more than just crowded. They will also be filled with stressed-out, maxed-out shoppers who may not be as careful behind the wheel as they should be. There’s also the fact that parking lots will be more difficult to navigate because of this hectic holiday behavior. Parking lots are where many fender benders happen any time of the year, but you should drive even more defensively on Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas/Hanukkah. It’s important to remember that the roads will be filled with out-of-town drivers, many of them from other states. They may have Car Insurance policies that have different limits or coverages than what your state requires. And that could spell bad news if they hit you.

Another very important thing to remember is that families are out and about in large numbers. Small children (and even pets) are often difficult to see standing right behind your car. To avoid any horrible accidents, make sure to pull out of parking spaces slowly, and only after you’re certain that you will not hit any adults, children or pets. You’ll probably want to watch out for stray shopping carts, too.

Are All Parking Lot Accidents Considered No-Fault Accidents?

Many people have a parking lot accident and no police report to show for it. This poses a problem when it comes to filing an insurance claim. First, it’s a myth that any parking lot accident gets taken care of by both drivers’ insurance companies at a 50/50 split. This may be the case if both vehicles are moving, but often when there is a parking lot accident, the fault goes to the car pulling out. That is, the driver waiting to take the spot will not be considered at fault. However, the outcome is never clear cut, and you always need a police report on file.

There are many factors that determine who is at fault in an accident. You never want to assume that you won’t be penalized after a collision occurs in a parking lot. Also, remember again that there will be underinsured drivers or drivers with no insurance at all in these parking lots too. That makes adding Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage to your Auto Insurance policy more than a good idea.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Yep, now is a good time to make sure you have Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM). This type of insurance coverage is meant to protect you in case of any parking lot car accidents. If an uninsured or underinsured driver hits your car, the last thing you want to do is dig into your own pockets and use your gift-giving dollars to pay for repairs instead.

Even if your insurance completely covers you in the case of an accident, you could still end up paying for someone else’s mistakes if they hit you and have no Car Insurance or too little of it. In some states Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) is required because uninsured driving is such a big and costly problem. However, if you don’t live in a state that requires UM Insurance and an uninsured motorist hits your car, you may have to pay for some of your loss. The same goes for an accident with an underinsured motorist. If a driver has low minimum requirements on their Liability Insurance and they hit you, you may not be fully covered without UM coverage.

Car Theft

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Thieves prey on chaos, and it doesn’t get much more chaotic for drivers than during the holiday season. Make sure you have all security features on your car activated wherever you go. Vandals and burglars seek protection from the dark so park in well-lit, high-traffic areas versus desolate areas. Unfortunately, we’re often left with no choice but to park in an out-of-the way spot. Either way, your car can get stolen. If items get stolen out of your car (like that TV you got at the Best Buy Black Friday sale), you’ll have to file that claim with your Renters Insurance or Condo/Homeowners Insurance policies, not your Auto Insurance. That’s why having the right insurance is so important. Speak to a trustworthy agent about your options and what you need for your lifestyle at (855) 919-4247.

Reckless Drivers

You’ve dealt with reckless drivers before. They often weave in and out of traffic as if their lives depend on getting to their destination in record time. Well, these folks are on the road during the holidays too, and guess what? They are still in a rush. Even the calmest driver will be impatient after dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic trying to get to friends and family for the holidays. Don’t be that reckless driver because you’ll be putting yourself and others at risk. No matter what the circumstances are, it’s never worth risking a collision with another car. In fact, you should drive more carefully than ever during the holidays. To avoid accidents, driving defensively is the best thing you can do to protect yourself.

Tired or Disoriented Drivers

During the holidays, people are generally overwhelmed with stress and less-than-focused on the road while behind the wheel. Remember that Thanksgiving turkey is loaded with tryptophan, which makes you sleepy (no, you weren’t imagining that turkey makes you tired!). Also, you and many others are probably driving more than usual during the holidays. That automatically makes you (and everyone else) a higher-risk driver. It’s never a good idea to do marathon-driving trips without taking enough time to rest along the way. If you plan to drive long distances, plan plenty of breaks every couple of hours. It’s easy to fall asleep behind the wheel if you’re not well-rested. Even if you’re alert, drive slowly, especially if you’re not familiar with the roads you’re taking to your holiday destination.

Drunk Drivers, DUIs and DUIDs

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Yes, the holidays are a time for revelry, but don’t let it get to your head – literally. The number of drunk drivers who get arrested skyrockets around this time of year so be careful. If you’re having alcoholic beverages, avoid getting behind the wheel. If you do, be certain that enough time has passed that you are not impaired and are safe to drive. That last thing you want on your driving record is a DUI.

You need to be careful if you plan on smoking marijuana, too. If you’re caught driving high in a different state where the laws are not as permissive, you may be in for a nightmarish surprise. Even in states like Colorado and California, where cannabis is legal, you can get a Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) charge. This is the same charge you’d get if you were high on prescription drugs and driving. While this season is a great time to have a few drinks and laughs with loved ones, it’s also a time to be extra careful when it comes to getting behind the wheel. Even if you’re sober, you have to drive more defensively because you could be sharing the road with impaired drivers.

Gap Insurance

Did you buy a car that is worth less now than what you owe on it? If you’re not sure, it’s important for you to find out. First, do your research and see what you owe versus the car’s value. The difference matters because you will only be paid the value of the car by your insurance company, not what you owe, if you are involved in an accident. If you owe more than the car’s current value, that means you will still owe money on the car if its totaled. This is true even if you have Collision coverage on your policy. Yes, even if it was the other driver’s fault, you may be at a loss without Gap Insurance.

Imagine having to make payments on a totaled car while having to finance a new car. With Gap Insurance, you don’t have to worry about that scenario ever becoming a reality. Gap Insurance closes that gap between what the car is worth and what you owe. So, if you do ever wreck your car, you can at least start at ground level. If you recently purchased a car worth less than what you owe, make sure to speak with an Insurance Specialist about your situation at (855) 919-4247. You can also call if you’d like multiple quotes or visit here to start the quote process online.


This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms, and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

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