Auto theft affects your insurance, so it is in your best interest to keep your car safe for more reasons than one. There are multiple small things you can do to accomplish this, and none of them will cost you a lot of money. Here are some common steps to prevent would be thieves from considering your car as a target.
It seems like an obvious question, but if you’re in an older car there is a good chance it doesn’t have a built in alarm system. Any type of alarm system is useful in deterring auto theft, even the default one. If your car didn’t come with a default alarm system, then you’ll have to look into getting one or using an alternative locking system. Older cars are more of a target because of this, yet there is still a way around this without spending money; using a stick shift acts as a thief deterrent. Thieves usually stay away from cars with a manual transmission since it falls outside of their expertise. It’s hard to plan a getaway when you don’t know how to operate the car you’re stealing.
People used to laugh at the idea of using a steering wheel lock. This oversized anti-theft hardware has saved millions of cars worldwide from being stolen. The implementation is still clunky, but it is the best price to performance anti-theft tool on the market. Even if you have a dedicated alarm system, the extra hardware protection of a steering wheel lock will stop thieves from even looking in your cars direction. Modern cars have a “steering wheel lock” built in by default without the chunkiness of the actual hardware. The only problem is that it lacks the visual deterrent of an actual steering wheel lock. There is a lot to be said about a sub $30 device that turns away experienced criminals from a target.
Some insurance policies covers theft of items that were in the car. It’s something that you want to use as a last resort, although it is nice to have. Car theft isn’t always about steeling the car, and instead is all about getting to the easy mark. That can be a purse on the seat, a shopping bag or even a phone. Leaving valuables in plain view is a bad idea, and does nothing more than entice criminals to break your windows in. In this situation, a steering wheel lock won’t do you any good.
There is an annual list of cars and trucks that land on the most stolen list. Pay close attention to the changing stats on this list and don’t ignore it if your car ends up in the top ten. Cars that are the most stolen have a hardware or software exploit that thieves are using to gain access. When your car lands on the list, it puts you in the direct crosshairs of would be criminals looking for an easy mark. Follow up with your car manufacturer to see if there is an incoming fix, and in the meantime keep your car well protected with an updated alarm or hardware lock.
If your car gets stolen (or the items in it) don’t panic. That is what having good insurance is for! Yes, your rates will go up, but it is better to be protected than to not have any compensation for your trouble. Rely on your insurance as needed so that you are never left out in the cold.