Have you ever walked out of your house or a store and noticed your car is gone? For most people, a car is their most valued possession. Having it stolen is a gut-wrenching feeling. Not only the loss of a vehicle, but any personal items that might have been in the vehicle with your personal information.
Most cars are stolen for a joy ride, while other are stripped for parts or shipped to another city or country. Even while overall motor vehicle thefts have been going down in the last 25 years, there is an increase in thefts with keys or fobs left in the car. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) in the United States during 2018 a motor vehicle was stolen every 42 seconds or over 748,000 vehicles stolen, resulting in over 6 billion dollars in losses.
The recovery rate was about 60%, meaning that almost 300,000 vehicles were never recovered.
Here are some things you can do to prevent theft of your car:
- Always Lock Your Car – this one should be a no-brainer and the easiest things to do to prevent theft, while not costing you anything. Surprisingly, a lot of people will leave their cars unlocked just to jump back into the house or a gas station for a second. Even worse, leaving your unlocked car running. A moment is all the thief needs to steal your car.
- Buy a Steering Wheel Lock – This device is not only a visual deterrent, but this mechanical bar is locks onto your steering wheel and will prevent it from being turned more than a few inches. They are often painted with bright colors so they can be visible at night. A thief will often go for the easiest target, having a visual deterrent will likely have a potential thief walk away from your car.
- Get a Quality Car Alarm – While this will not prevent the theft, it will warn you if someone is trying to gain access your vehicle. Quality car alarms can notify you through the alarm fob even if you are not close to your car and you cannot hear the alarm. Some alarms can send you a notice when someone is standing close to your car for more than few seconds.
- Install a Kill-Switch – A kill-switch is a device installed in your car that when engaged, will prevent fuel or power delivery to the engine, effectively preventing the engine to start. To start the engine, a thief would have to know that there is a kill switch and where to find it. For most people, a kill-switch needs to be professionally installed.
- Get a GPS Tracker – Again, this will not prevent the theft, but it can help you in recovery of your car. A lot of GPS trackers are not expensive, while some more pricey units have a better GPS signal, transmitting the location even if the car is hidden in a garage or any enclosed structure.
- Wheel Lock – Just like a steering wheel lock, the wheel lock clamps onto the wheel of your car to prevent the car from rolling forward or backward. You probably have seen similar locks (the boot) that the city applies to vehicles that have exceeded parking limits or have unpaid tickets. This is just a civilian version of it.
Do you due diligence and don’t become a statistic. Most thefts are opportunistic crimes – avoid leaving any valuables in clear sight, either lock them in the trunk or hide it under the seat. Always lock your vehicle and park it in well-lit areas around other cars.
If you can, make sure your auto insurance policy has at least comprehensive coverage so that you can be made whole again should a theft happen.
For any questions about insurance coverage, give us a call at 816.453.7722.