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Keven Moore on Insurance: Black Friday craziness requires good defensive skills

The day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, is the biggest shopping day of the year, where people team up and devise coordinated invasion plans to get their hands on those doorbuster shopping deals and where elbows are flying as eager shoppers try to box out their opponents.

It’s where well-organized families coordinate recon missions well in advanced to collect the proper Intel, usually around closing time on the Wednesday before, to draw up maps of exactly where the loot will be located. It’s where these well-equipped teams stake out their territories in tents, much like warring tribes on a warpath. Some have been know to come armed with pepper spray to disperse their opponents once the mayhem begins.

As with any coordinated invasion, the side with the newest and best technology usually wins. These invaders will be armed with a variety of Black Friday Smartphone apps to find the best deals. Many will use their Smartphone to scan the bar codes to determine if they are getting the product at the best price, compared to other stores in the area.

With any great Black Friday offense, however, you also need a great defense. The combination of too-good-to-be-true deals in conjunction with sleep-deprived overzealous drivers can make parking lots dangerous, not to mention that thieves, pickpockets and others are looking to take advantage of unsuspicious shoppers during this frantic time.

To help you build up your defenses, keep these safety tips in mind when navigating the parking lots and wandering the aisles.

On the road and in the parking lot:

• When backing out of a parking spot, be aware of waiting cars, others who are backing out at the same time and motorists who speed through lanes. You may even want to have your shopping partner step out behind your vehicle to help guide you safely out.

• Lock all doors and roll up all windows even when leaving the car for a brief moment.

• While shopping, keep gifts locked safely away in the trunk or hidden from view in the interior of the car.

• Always place your bags in the trunk before driving to your next destination so that others can’t see you place them in the trunk once you arrive.

• Avoid parking next to vans and large trucks that block your space from the vision of others.

• Make a mental note or text yourself a message exactly where you park your car to avert wandering around longer than necessary.

• During the day, park safely away from buildings to reduce the chance of dings from car doors or shopping carts. But at night, avoid secluded areas and park directly under lights whenever possible.

• Have your keys in hand when departuring a store, as well as pepper mace if you carry it.

• Remember to look around and under your car as you approach; criminals have been known to lie in wait.

• Bring gifts in the house once you arrive at home, instead of leaving them in the car.

In the store:

• Use a credit card to avoid thefts of large amounts of cash that are irreplaceabl,e and shop with just a single credit card as it is much easier to cancel just one if your purse or wallet is lost or stolen.

• Shop with a credit card that offers additional warranties on your purchases.

• Keep purses zipped closed and close to your body.

• Never leave a purse unsupervised in a shopping cart where it is more susceptible to theft.

• Keep a reference list of phone and account numbers for all your credit cards in a safe place at home.

• Do not overload yourself with bags when leaving a store and returning to your car. It’s difficult to defend yourself with when you’re carrying a lot of packages.

• Use ATMs in well-populated and well lit locations.

• Remember there is safety in numbers so avoid walking alone and leave malls and stores well before closing time to assure a more lively parking lot. You can always ask mall security to walk you to your car if you do not feel safe.

In additions to remembering these safety tips, I encourage you to review your insurance policies with your trusted Insurance agent to make sure you have the proper coverage in case an accident or theft does occur. Liability coverage will protect you if you hit another motorist, collision coverage will cover the damage to your car and comprehensive coverage will insure you for damage by vandals or theft of your vehicle.

Good luck on your mission and may God be with you. As for me, I’ll probably wake up around 10 a.m. and will be keeping track of your adventures on Facebook and Instagram, so be sure to tag me or send me plenty of pictures so that I can see what I missed.

Be safe, my friends.

Keven Moore is director of Risk Management Services for Roeding Insurance (www.roedinginsurance.com). He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky, a master’s from Eastern Kentucky University and 25-plus years of experience in the safety and insurance profession. He lives in Lexington with his family and works out of both the Lexington and Northern Kentucky offices. Keven can be reached at kmoore@roeding.com.

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