In This Issue

Give the Gift of Safety

December 12, 2008

Shopping for last-minute stocking stuffers? Under-the-tree surprises? Gifts for the driveway? The holidays are the perfect time of year to think about your family’s safety. Safety Santa helps you find the best safety gifts for 2008:

Disposable cameras

Sure, they’re great for parties. They’re also great for the car. Having a disposable camera on hand can help record the evidence of the accident while help is on the way. These photos can expedite the insurance claims processing as well as provide evidence in a court of law. And, unlike cell phone cameras, their batteries won’t die and they’ll produce detailed photos with high resolution.

Car safety kits

Worried about your friends and relatives traveling for the holidays? Have a teen who just started driving? Is someone in your family on the road a lot for work? Tell them you care with a car safety kits They’re easy to find. Wal-Mart, Auto Zone and many local home centers carry car kits. Some even offer discounts around the holidays.

What to look for in your kit:

  • Jumper cables
  • Roadside flares
  • First aid kit (including an assortment of bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic cream, instant ice and heat compresses, scissors and aspirin)
  • Blanket
  • Emergency poncho
  • Hand warmers
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Tire inflator
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Spray bottle with washer fluid
  • Pocketknife
  • Ice scraper
  • Pen and paper
  • Reflective help sign

Even better, you can make your own using the list above, and you can add to it with granola or energy bars, bottled water and a disposable camera.

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms make great gifts for newlyweds or friends who’ve just bought a house. For a bigger gift, package it with a carbon monoxide alarm.

But how do you know which alarms to get?

Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent product safety testing organization, tests smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and allows the product to bear the UL Mark if they pass UL’s safety standards. So, if you’re looking for one, look for the UL mark.

For more information on choosing the right smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, visit Underwriters Laboratory on the Web. They can also tell you how to find the best fire extinguishers.

Home security system

Here’s a gift for you and yours. Your home is the center of holiday celebrations, and so it’s a good time to think about its security against burglars. One easy deterrent is to avoid inviting burglars in with a tempting display of holiday gifts that can be seen from the outside.

But, the best deterrent is installing a security system. The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NFBAA) reports that homes without security systems are three times more likely to be burglarized than homes with them.

Finding the best brand and installer in your area can require some research. A report from CNN Financial Network suggests getting written estimates from several vendors that include the price of all equipment. A one-line quote or a quote on the back of a business card may be a sign that the company isn’t legitimate. See the report with CNN’s Valerie Morris for more information on what questions to ask.

Resources on the NFBAA Web site and from Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) can offer insight on leading brands. Check your phonebook for local distributors, and make sure to let your insurance Agent know you’ve installed a new system.


The GPS is one of the hot holiday gadgets for 2008. It’s also a safety-conscious pick. These devices prevent drivers from taking their eyes off the road to look at handwritten or printed directions. Plus, they keep drivers on the quickest road to their destination.

If you’re considering a GPS system, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Does the device have a safe mode feature? This feature locks a device so that a driver can’t enter information while moving, making sure their eyes stay on the road.
  • Will the system automatically adjust for a wrong turn? Even with a voice telling you which way to go, it’s easy to miss an exit or have to make a last minute change of direction. Most systems automatically adjust for this and recalculate a new route.
  • How’s the screen size? You don’t want a screen that’s too big and inhibits your view of the road, or one that’s too small and makes you squint. Think about the layout of your dashboard and pick a size that makes sense.

A new car

Who wouldn’t love to see a great big bow and the attached car in the driveway on Christmas morning? If you’re in the market for a new car and decide to splurge this holiday season, check out the 2008-09 top safety picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Whether you’re shopping for a midsize car, an SUV or even a convertible, they can tell which ones will keep you and your loved ones safest on the road.

Also, remember to talk to your Agent first to see how the new ride will affect your insurance.

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