Whether It's Last Minute Shopping or Getting Ready for After Christmas Sales; Stay Safe and Secure at Year-End

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- With just a few days left before Christmas, it's getting to be crunch time for last-minute shoppers.  Also, severe weather throughout the country – with record snow, rain and frigid temperatures in many parts – has added an unforeseen complication for many people struggling to finish their end-of-year holiday shopping.

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Unfortunately, this combination of factors can cause many people to take safety short cuts that could lead to ending the year on a sour note.  For some, the volatility of the year-end leads to an assortment of risky behaviors – inattentive driving, too-much focus on getting in-and-out of stores without paying attention to surroundings, forgetting to implement the most basic of personal safety measures, etc.

Farmers Insurance wants everyone to start the new year on a high note so it is offering the following safety tips for time-crunched end of the year shoppers:

Before heading to the stores

  • Have your shopping list ready
  • Dress comfortably, leave the "bling" at home (remember, you're power shopping)
  • Only take those debit/credit cards you'll be using; taking extra cards only weighs you down and may even tempt you to make unnecessary purchases
  • If you can, avoid using cash; alert thieves will be more tempted to target those carrying large amounts of cash as opposed to debit/credit cards
  • Take advantage of stores extended holiday hours to avoid the rush hours
  • Consider taking an adult friend or family member along to help keep you focused on the task ahead of you and to provide extra safety and security
  • Let your neighbor or a friend know that you'll be out; this way they can keep an eye on your residence while you are away

On the road

  • Obey all traffic rules; because of the holidays there is likely to be more law enforcement officers on the look-out for unsafe drivers
  • Be aware of other drivers' actions; many of them are feeling stressed as well so their inattentiveness may increase
  • In severe weather conditions, it's a good idea to reduce your speed and increase the distance between you and other cars and pedestrians

Parking lot safety

  • Park as close as you can to the front of the store
  • Park in a well-lit location
  • Be sure to lock your car and take your keys with you (yes, plenty of people still forget to do this)
  • Make a mental note of where you are parked so that you don't end up wandering the lot after you're done shopping
  • Before heading back out to the parking lot, get your keys out and ready – don't fumble to find them in the parking lot (especially in inclement weather)
  • If you see people loitering in the parking lot or your "sixth sense" tells you something is just not right, ask a security officer to escort you to your car
  • Keep all valuables (including your new purchases) out of sight; no need to tempt would-be thieves

While shopping

  • Keep your wallet with you at all times, never leave it unattended
  • When finalizing a purchase with a debit card at the register, be alert for "wandering eyes" that could be trying to get a peek at your PIN code
  • Be sure keep track of all your purchased items, unattended bags are a tempting prize an opportunistic thief
  • Don't overload yourself with too many bags, periodically store them in the trunk of your car to avoid becoming a possible victim of a purse or bag snatcher

Being able to close out the year safe and secure makes it easier to start the next one with a brighter outlook.  

Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is the country's 3rd largest insurer of both personal lines passenger automobile and homeowners insurance, and also provides a wide range of other insurance and financial services products.  Farmers Insurance is proud to serve more than 10 million households with more than 20 million individual policies across all 50 states through the efforts of over 50,000 exclusive and independent agents and nearly 24,000 employees.

Farmers is a trade name and may refer to Farmers Group, Inc. or the Farmers Exchanges, as the case may be. Farmers Group, Inc., a management and holding company, along with its subsidiaries, is wholly owned by the Zurich Financial Services Group. The Farmers Exchanges are three reciprocal insurers (Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange), including their subsidiaries and affiliates, owned by their policyholders, and managed by Farmers Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information about Farmers, visit its Web site at www.farmers.com or at www.Facebook.com/FarmersInsurance.


Luis Sahagun







SOURCE Farmers Insurance Group of Companies



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