Vehicle with colorful lights driving at night surrounded by silly ghosts

Neighborhood Safety Tips: Who You Gonna Call?

In the movie Ghostbusters, three former professors confront the paranormal by setting up a ghost removal service. You don’t have to have a run in with the supernatural, however, to know that sometimes the holidays can bring about safety issues for home and auto owners. Mercury Insurance experts want to help policyholders keep themselves, their families and their property safe during the holiday season.

“Every year we see an increase in the number of claims around the holidays,” said Christopher O’Rourke, Mercury Insurance’s Vice President of Property Claims. “Having the right kind of insurance and taking precautionary measures around your home can help protect you from certain perils.”

Don’t be troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night or experience feelings of dread in your basement, attic or anywhere on your property this season. Here are some tips to protect your home and auto from something strange in your neighborhood.

Home

Whether you transform your home into a large holiday happening or simply place a small arrangement of decorations by your front door, know that anything displayed on your property where people walk past could pose an injury risk.

Guests could trip over cables, decorations or other outdoor items if they are not easily marked, especially at night. Declutter your yard by removing unnecessary items such as tools and toys from your walkway and secure them away from guests. This will help prevent possible theft as well as potential injuries.

“Don’t cross the streams.”

In the original Ghostbusters movie, Ghostbuster Dr. Egon Spengler warns his fellow phantom fighters when attacking ghosts to not cross the streams, referring to the beams from their proton blasters crossing paths. The same can be said if you use extension cords for your decoration display. A tangle of cables and cords throughout your home or across your property could pose a tripping risk. Don’t let them cross. Overloading outlets could also cause a potential fire hazard.

Light ‘em up.

Sometimes even the clearest walkway can be hard to navigate in the dark. Turn your porch and sidewalk lights on so guests can see their way to your door. Always leave a light on in your house so possible vandals believe you are home, even if you aren’t.

Prepare for sub-creatures, destructors and specters. Get smart (tech).

Smart home technology is a great way to monitor and secure your property to deter unexpected visitors looking to cause a little mischief. Smart home lights and cameras connected to a mobile device gives you control of your home’s surroundings literally in the palm of your hand, including making it look like you are home if you’re out at a celebration.

Auto

“It’s pretty common for our customers to report minor vandalism damage, such as dents and dings to their parked cars in crowded shopping mall parking lots,” says Kevin Quinn, Vice President of Claims at Mercury Insurance.

“We tend to see an increase in reports of broken windows and theft of personal property from vehicles around this time of year.”

The Ghostbusters used the Ecto-1 to drive around the streets of New York City. If you plan to fire up your own Ectomobile to get to holiday celebrations or shopping sprees this year remember these auto tips:

Protect the barrier.

Protect your vehicle by avoiding parking in empty lots and deserted areas. Vandals are less likely to strike out in the open, so if you do take your vehicle out for the night, park in well-lit and populated areas. If you’re attending a holiday party in an unfamiliar neighborhood, ask the host for recommendations on safe places to park and always activate your car alarm.

Hosting your own party or staying in? Give potential criminals one less target. Park your car on a well-lit street or put your car in the garage if you have the space to do so.

“I’ve been slimed.”

If your vehicle is damaged due to something other than a collision (for example, if your car gets vandalized), comprehensive insurance kicks in after you’ve paid your deductible. Note that you must have the coverage at the time the incident occurs otherwise any damages your vehicle sustains are an out-of-pocket expense.

“Who you gonna call?”

In the event you find that your vehicle has been vandalized, first contact the police to file a report. Filing a report provides you with an official record of the incident and, hopefully, the police will be able to track down the offender. Don’t attempt to move or clean any damaged property until the police arrive, retrieve necessary information and document the scene.

Take photos of the damage if possible and then contact your insurer to report the claim right away.

“We’re ready to believe you.”

Mercury customers can call the company toll-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week to report a claim at (800) 503-3724.