Droves of deal-seekers will head to the malls and stores right after gobbling up their turkey dinner, or in the wee hours of Black Friday morning. But driving drowsy at 1 a.m. to be the first in line when the store opens, stuffing flat screens into overcrowded trunks that won’t close and cars being damaged or broken in to by parking lot thieves wanting to make off with your Black Friday haul are potential car insurance claims that can turn your bargain hunting into a black mark on your budget.
An accident or claim for damage to your car (from vandalism) can send your car insurance rates through the roof. “The average rate hike for an accident is anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent,” says Billy Van Jura, an insurance broker in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Think it can’t happen to you?
Data compiled by Progressive Insurance says last year, parking-related car insurance claims increased 36.5 percent on Black Friday compared to Fridays two weeks before and after Black Friday. And the increase in Black Friday parking claims doubled from 2010 to 2011.
Progressive says additional Black Friday car insurance claims included:
- Rear-ending someone or getting rear-ended, accounting for 12.57 percent of claims
- Hitting a parked car or having your parked car struck, totaling 11.13 percent of claims
- Backing into another car or having your car backed into, accounting for 7.68 percent of claims
Here’s a look at some other common Black Friday claims that could cause your rates to soar.
You’re driving drowsy
If while driving under the influence of sleep deprivation because you want to be the first in line when the store opens you’re at fault for an accident. Van Jura says the claim would be covered, but your rates could go up. If this is your first claim in three or more years, you may escape without a rate hike, but that’s not a guarantee, he says.
Your car is targeted by a Grinch
If your car is damaged or vandalized in the parking lot or broken into by thieves wanting to make off with the Black Friday haul stored in the trunk/back seat, this claim would also be covered, according to Van Jura. “Vandalism and theft are covered if you carry comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy.” This portion of coverage is mandatory if you have a loan for the car, and Van Jura says is only removed from a policy by request of the driver.
But if the gifts are stolen, there’s a good chance you’re facing the expense of two deductibles. “Gifts are considered personal property. And property stolen from your vehicle are protected by the personal property coverage of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and subject to that policy’s deductible,” says Van Jura.
Your trunk is too small
What if the deal of the century – that just so happens to be oversized – falls out of your trunk, back of your pick-up truck, etc. You’re out of luck!
As soon as you slide your credit card for that new flat screen, the TV is considered your personal property. And falling out of the car, dropping it while carrying it in, etc. are not covered losses under typical homeowners or renter’s policies, says Van Jura.
So strap those big boxes in tight in your trunk or truck bed to prevent them – and your budget – from becoming road kill.