December 2012
Don't Let 'Grinches' Ruin Your Holidays!
theft breaking into car

Don't Let 'Grinches' Ruin Your Holidays!

These tips could help prevent home burglaries and car theft during the holidays.

When you think of the holiday season, “car theft” and “home burglaries” aren't exactly the first words that come to mind.

But it turns out that New Year's Day, New Year's Eve and Christmas Eve are among the top-ranked holidays for car theft in the United States, according to the National Crime Information Center. Home burglaries increase during the holidays, too, according to law enforcement officials.

Don't let thieves spoil your holiday season! Follow these tips to keep your home and car secure.

Prevent Car Theft and Break-Ins

Whether you're shopping at the mall or on main street, keep these tips in mind to prevent thieves from stealing or breaking into your car.

Park smart: Park in well-lit areas, away from dumpsters or large vehicles that can serve as hiding places for thieves or carjackers. If you're going do more shopping after putting purchases in your car, change parking locations, so thieves don't see you leaving your car full of gifts.

Stow your stuff: Keep your purchases hidden in the trunk, and consider using blankets, garbage bags or boxes to camouflage gifts.

Use common sense: When parking your car, lock it, close the windows, and always take your keys with you. Never hide a second set of keys in your car, or leave it running unattended.

Don't get towed: To thwart thieves who use tow trucks to steal cars, use your emergency brake when parking, or turn your wheels toward the curb when parking on a street.

We've got you covered: If your vehicle is stolen, American Family's comprehensive car insurance coverage may cover expenses involved in returning your vehicle to you. Learn more about American Family car insurance or get an American Family car insurance quote online.

Holiday Burglary Prevention Tips for Your Home

Thieves love houses full of holiday gifts, especially when no one's home. These tips can help prevent home burglaries.

Lock it, trim it: Lock all doors, and securely fasten windows. Specifically, use deadbolt locks, and place metal rods or wooden dowels in the tracks of sliding doors. Trim bushes and trees so they don't provide cover for burglars.

Keep up appearances: Don't post social media updates (or notes on your front door!) revealing you're not at home. When you're out, make your home appear occupied by using timers on lights, radios or TVs.

Out of sight, out of mind: Avoid displaying holiday gifts so they can be easily seen through windows. Schedule package deliveries for times that you're home. After the holidays, break down boxes for high-value gifts so they fit in your garbage can and are not visible.

Neighborhood watch: When you're away from home for extended periods, have a trusted neighbor keep an eye on things, and stop mail and newspaper deliveries.

Get our DreamVault app: Use American Family's free DreamVault home inventory tool to create a secure, online record of your belongings, including holiday gifts! Then, if you ever have a claim or need to report something stolen, the information is accessible from your computer, iPhone or Android device.

'Best Bets' for Booster Seats
booster seat

'Best Bets' for Booster Seats

Use this booster seat safety information to protect your children, and share it with others.

If you have 4- to 8-year-old children or grandchildren, or know someone who does, listen up!

This fall, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced that 15 out of 17 booster seats introduced in 2012 earned the Institute's top “BEST BET” rating.

These BEST BET boosters correctly position safety belts on typical 4- to 8-year-olds in almost any car, minivan or SUV. The IIHS advised consumers to avoid two of the booster seats introduced in 2012 because they did not provide a good fit. Visit the IIHS website to get the complete list and explanation of booster seat safety ratings.

What is a booster seat?

In contrast to child restraints with built-in harnesses, booster seats use the vehicle's lap and shoulder safety belts to restrain children. Booster seats are supposed to make adult belts fit children better, and are intended for kids who have outgrown their forward-facing restraints.

According to the IIHS, 4- to 8-year-olds in boosters are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes than children who are restrained only by a vehicle's safety belts.

Why do the IIHS ratings matter?

The IIHS notes that federal regulations do not address how booster seats should position vehicle safety belts. Further, manufacturers conduct crash tests with booster seats, but the crash simulations do not tell parents how boosters will fit their children in their vehicles. After research indicated that most boosters weren't doing a good job of fitting safety belts correctly and consistently in various vehicles, the IIHS launched its booster seat rating program.

Be sure to take the IIHS' ratings into account if you're in the market for a booster seat. Or, if you don't have children this age but you know someone who does, share this information with them.

Check out American Family's Learning Center for information about car seat safety.

Have a Happy (and Safe) New Year's Eve

Have a Happy (and Safe) New Year's Eve

Make our New Year's Eve safety checklists a part of your celebration plans.

Got New Year's Eve plans?

Get a head start on your resolutions for a safe, fun and happy 2013 by using our New Year's Eve safety checklist, whether you'll be hosting a party or attending festivities elsewhere.

Tips for party hosts

  • Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who won't drink alcoholic beverages, and who can drive guests home.
  • Provide non-alcoholic drinks as an option for guests, and serve food.
  • Don't serve alcoholic beverages to those who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Stop serving alcohol to guests several hours before the party ends, and offer coffee, tea or soft drinks instead.
  • If guests have imbibed too much, call a cab or arrange for them to ride home with someone who is sober. Allow guests to stay overnight in your home, if necessary.
  • Be a responsible host – limit your own alcohol intake.
  • If you're burning candles, extinguish them before leaving the room.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working and powered with fresh batteries.
  • Before your party, look into liability coverage. Review the specifics of your homeowners policy and decide whether you wish to get additional liability umbrella coverage.

Tips for partygoers

  • Don't drink and drive. Designate a sober driver before you start celebrating. If you've had too much to drink and don't have a designated driver, call a taxi or someone who is sober to get a ride home. Or, stay where you are until you're sober.
  • If you're out in public, be aware of your surroundings, and keep away from people who are not in control and could harm you or others.
  • If you're with others, stick together – look out for your friend. Travel in groups.
  • Prevent those who are intoxicated from driving or leaving with people they don't know.
  • Be responsible – limit your own alcohol intake.

Sources: Insurance Information Institute, and the United States Government

Watch American Family-Sponsored Prep Bowl Games in January!
football game

Watch American Family-Sponsored Prep Bowl Games in January!

And while you're at it, take our Safe Driving Pledge.

It's not every day you can watch America's top prep football players compete on national television.

But you'll have that opportunity two days in a row in January!

As part of its commitment to protecting teens and their dreams, American Family is proudly sponsoring two major high school football bowl games:

Under Armour All-America High School Football Game

Jan. 4, 4 p.m. CST, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game will be televised on ESPN. A few months prior to the game, a selection tour recognized the student-athletes as well as their families, coaches and communities.

U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Jan. 5, noon CST, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be broadcast on NBC. Through a selection tour leading up to the game, American Family traveled the country, announcing members of the football team as well as the All-American Marching Band.

Take the Safe Driving Pledge

Besides its sponsorship of these games, American Family supports and protects the dreams of teens in other ways, like the Teen Safe Driver Program. This award-winning initiative has helped teenagers reduce risky driving habits by more than 70 percent.

We've also created the Safe Driving Pledge to help reinforce the importance of safe driving among all drivers – not just teens.

Consider taking the Safe Driving Pledge today! Just for taking the pledge, we'll enter you in a drawing for one of 10 $250 gift cards.

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