During the holiday season, amidst all the hustle and the bustle, it’s easy to get caught up in the magic and let your guard down. Come on, who isn’t a sucker for all things shiny and bright, right? However, the holidays are also a rather precarious time, one where you need to be ultra-aware.

We are not saying you shouldn’t enjoy the season (of course not!), but you do need to take precautions. There are several things you should look out for this time of year that can be especially dangerous. Remember, it’s best not to be caught off guard.

As your friends over here at Waypoint Insurance, we’ve taken the liberty of putting together a list of 10 tips on how to ring in the holiday season safely this year.

  1. Prepare Your Car for Holiday Weather

Driving in the winter can be fretful, but we know you likely don’t want to stay at home. We’ve had enough of that these last few years. So, be adventurous, but make sure to give your car the gift of a full car servicing, inspection, and review this year before it starts snowing heavily. This includes the following:

  • Make sure your car insurance is up to date.
  • Keeping an emergency kit with you in case anything unplanned happens. Include pylons, blankets, water, food, road salt, and flares. It’s also wise to invest in a portable battery charger for your phone on the off chance you’re stuck for a long period of time.
  • Inspecting all parts in your car and checking online for car parts that function hand in hand during winter.
  • Installing winter tires.
  1. Decorate the Tree in Peace

This activity typically includes a lot of ladder use and an abundance of electrical cords. Consider these risks:

  • Ladder use
    If you have family over and the ladder falls and injures someone, you could be on the hook for medical fees.
  • Electrical cords
    If a string of lights causes an electrical fire, you may find yourself paying out of pocket for the damages if you do not have adequate insurance.

Take this opportunity to review your home insurance and ensure you are prepared to decorate your tree in peace this year.

  1. Be Mindful of Your Travel

If you are going away this holiday season, particularly via plane, these are a few things you should be mindful of:

  • Cancellation policies (e.g., if Billy comes down with COVID at the last minute)
  • Weather warnings (e.g., if the big snowstorm of the season falls on the day of your flight)
  • Emergency assistance (e.g., if your holiday luggage gets lost)
  • All the travel insurance packages Waypoint offers through Tugo, including support. If you’re stranded by a canceled flight or stuck in a natural disaster, your insurance advisor can help. The Tugo team will always jump in to make sure you have a place to rest your head, receive care, recover vital documents, or get in touch with legal aid. In high-stress conditions, this support is invaluable and gives you one less thing to worry about.
  1. Phishing Scams Are Abundant at Christmas

Everyone wants to have a good holiday, but some have other ideas. Scammers use calls, email, text, and mail as a disguise to lure you into giving them money. Here are a few signs you are being phished:

  • The mail or call is requesting your personal and bank details.
  • Promises seem implausible or too good to be true.
  • You have searched the internet for info on the company but can’t find any.

Look out for these signs and be careful of whom you give your details.

  1. Don’t Let a Grinch Steal Your Holiday Packages

Porch pirates love Christmas. If you know you’re usually busy during the holidays and have no chance of being available when your package arrives, here are a few things you should consider doing when ordering your package to avoid “the grinch” from grabbing it before you do:

  • Ask the company to send you the tracking number with up-to-the-minute tracking.
  • Have someone pick it up for you when it is delivered.
  1. Avoid Being “Home Alone”

It is okay to want to travel for the holiday season, especially to see family or loved ones that you haven’t seen in a year. However, you should avoid leaving your house empty without anyone taking care of it. If you must, make sure the details of your travel are secret and only disclosed to those close to you. If you decide to publicize your time away from home, you may come home to an unwanted surprise.

  1. Don’t Drink and Drive

This should be observed all year round, but it is particularly important in the harsh and icy conditions of winter. Unfortunately, at this time of year, a lot of people “nog and drive” and implicate others while at it. With bountiful snow, the roads are quite slippery. You want to make sure that you are driving in your right sense to avoid accidents. If you want to go out, here are your choices:

  • Don’t drink.
  • Book a ride home.
  • Have a Designated Driver (DD) drive you home.

Driving sober is important. This means avoiding driving while under the influence of alcohol, prescription meds, and cannabis products.

  1. Clear Snow Off Your Car Roof Before You Drive

Christmas is the time of year when vehicle accidents surge. To minimize the risk of motor vehicle accidents for yourself and others, take the time to clear the snow off your car’s roof before embarking on any trip. A lot of accidents are caused by this seemingly insignificant detail, with innocent road drivers as the victims. It can be a hassle to clean off your car sometimes because you are in a rush, but please take the time to do this as it will help promote road safety during the winter months.

  1. Insure Your Silver and Gold

Silver and gold are commodities that for generations do not depreciate. Not surprisingly, theft of silver and gold has risen in recent years. The holiday season is a time when:

  • theft is higher; and
  • you are responsible for the gifts you buy (until you give them away).

Remember that the expensive gifts you buy are covered under your home policy before they are given away, so again, ensure you have appropriate home insurance.

  1. Review Your Policies with Waypoint

Your holiday insurance package comprises home insurance, car insurance, and travel insurance. To make sure you are on the right track for winter, call your Waypoint advisor to review your home and car insurance policies and consider what you will need for your travel plans this holiday season. We look forward to hearing from you!