The shopping season is in full swing, a busy time for both online and brick and mortar retailers.  The average American plans to spend $998 this winter holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. Though many of us plan to turn to online shopping this year, you may still decide to make a quick trip to the mall or your favorite local shops. (Make sure to follow public health guidance from experts such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your local government.)  

Whether you order online or go out, Erie Insurance has some quick tips for a smooth and safe holiday shopping season.

  1. Travel light. Leave your purse at home if you can, and bring only keys, phone and cash or credit card (and keep those in a front pocket to protect from pickpockets in crowds). 
  2. Be a picky parker.Shopping during daylight hours is probably safer, especially when you’re passing through the parking lot with bags full of gifts. But night shopping, especially with the season’s shorter daylight hours and hectic work schedules, is a necessity for many. Park your car in a well-lit area as close to the entrance as possible. If your car is broken into, here’s what you should do next.  
  3. Drive with caution. Whether entering or exiting crowded parking lots or ramps, cars can pull out suddenly and people can appear from seemingly nowhere. Slow down and minimize distractions in the car to give your driving your full attention. This is one way you can avoid a fender bender in a parking lot.  
  4. Buy local whenever you canWhen it comes time to shop for that special gift, think about supporting that mom-and-pop, or local art shop first. Buying local keeps the money within your local economy, while also helping to provide new employment and job opportunities for people within your community. 
  5. Keep gifts out of sight. It’s best to head straight home after your shopping trip, but that’s not always practical. If you have more errands on your list, be conscious of where you store your gifts in your vehicle. If possible, use your trunk and don’t leave gifts or bags with valuables on your front seat. 
  6. Purchase gift cards or gift certificates (without worry). Many places accept contact-free payment online or over the phone. Stock up now and treat your friends and family (or yourself) to a night on the town when it is safe to do so. Good news: At no additional cost, ERIE is automatically adding local gift card and gift certificate reimbursement coverage to your ErieSecure Home® policy. Coverage provides reimbursement for up to $250 per gift card purchased at businesses within 100 miles of your residence if the business permanently closes within a year after purchase. While no one wants to see a business close its doors, it’s reassurance that your purchase is protected. 

Interested in learning more? At ERIE, living local is what we’re all about. For more than 95 years, we’ve been proud to work with local insurance agents who live and work in the communities you do. Talk to a local agent in your community about our coverages, request a quote or learn more about what makes ERIE different.

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