In a previous article, we discussed vehicle theft rates, and how (and why) this crime has such a significant impact on your car insurance premiums. Vehicle theft is one of the primary reasons that car insurance premiums are so high in urban areas and other locations which have an increased risk of auto theft or break-in.
Minimize the Risk – Active Locks and Alarms
You can minimize your own risk by following some (mostly) common sense tips that reduce the chances of your car being stolen:
- When you park your car, regardless of how long it will be unattended, lock it. This seems kind of simple, but the fact is that a vast majority of vehicles that are stolen were left unlocked. A thief doesn’t want to take the time, attract attention by making noise, or risk the personal exposure of breaking the lock or a window to gain entry to your car. So, they look for unlocked cars.
- Park your car with the wheels sharply turned to the right or left, and engage the parking break. These two strategies make it difficult for a theft ring to tow your car without making a lot of noise or damaging the vehicle.
- A very visible steering wheel lock will generally cause a thief to move onto another car. Again, as with a locked door, anything that will increase the time it takes for a thief to steal your car is an immediate deterrent to theft. It takes only moments to secure your steering wheel with such a device, and using one may actually reduce your auto insurance premiums.
- Most newer model cars come equipped with a standard anti-theft system that activates when you lock the car. But, if you don’t lock the car, the system doesn’t arm. With an armed system, the car won’t start, and an alarm will sound if someone tampers with the car. For older model cars, similar anti-theft systems are commercially available at very reasonable prices.
As you can see, all of the above tips are common sense and take very little time in terms of providing active security for your car (and yourself).
A Passive Parking Security Tip
One of the best passive tips to prevent auto theft (and increased car insurance premiums) is, again, very simple: choose where you park carefully, particularly if you’re away from home. Your car should be parked in a well-lit area, or if possible, in an attended parking garage. Stealth is a thief’s best friend, and good lighting plus the presence of other people significantly reduces the risk of your car being stolen.
Lastly, vehicle tracking devices provide a way for police to track, and possibly recover, your vehicle in the event that it is stolen. Many newer model cars come equipped with this technology, but if yours doesn’t have OnStar or LoJack as standard equipment, consider in investing in such a device. Not only are the chances greatly increased that your car will be recovered if stolen, but you will also most likely qualify for a discount on your car insurance premiums.