The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2019, one motor vehicle was stolen every 43.8 seconds in the United States. That means that there were more than 700,000 reported stolen cars that year.
Many of those thefts could have been prevented if drivers had followed some simple precautions.
Don’t make it so easy for car thieves. Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent your car from being stolen and becoming a statistic.
LOCK YOUR DOORS
Let’s begin with the easiest step. Locking your car doors is the first step to deter a thief. No matter where you live, or how safe you feel your neighborhood is, it's good to get into the habit of locking and checking your car doors.
PARK IN A WELL-LIT AREA, A GARAGE IF POSSIBLE
When you park your vehicle in a well-lit area, like a public or retail parking lot or garage, you remove the privacy thieves enjoy. Many retail and some public parking lots have security cameras for added security and deterrent purposes.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE WHILE IT’S RUNNING
This may seem the most obvious. But how many of us do this? After all, we’re just running a quick errand and will be back to the car in under a minute. Well, that’s plenty of time for a car thief to find and steal your car.
TAKE YOUR KEYS WITH YOU
Never leave your keys in the ignition. If a thief finds your keys in the car, they’ll simply break a window and drive off. Hiding your keys won’t help either, more times than not, a thief will find them, and you’ll come out of the store with a missing car.
CLOSE ALL THE WINDOWS
Keep your windows completely closed, even on a hot day. A thief can take advantage of the smallest opening to reach into your car, taking what they can or unlock the door to gain full access to your vehicle and everything in it.
NEVER LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR VEHICLE IN PLAIN SIGHT
Leaving your valuables in the open is a recipe for trouble, it’s one of the surest ways to draw a thief’s attention. It’s best to leave your high-value items at home. If you need to bring them, store them in the trunk before you leave your driveway. Remember, a car thief may be around the corner scoping out individuals moving items into their trunk. Once you leave the car alone, they’ll break into the trunk and take what they want.
If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Be aware of your surroundings. If someone looks suspicious or there are individuals loitering, move on and find another spot to park. Also, double-check to make sure that all valuables are in the trunk, the windows are closed, the car is locked and you have the keys.
INSTALL AN ANTI-THEFT DEVICE
You can deter a thief by installing audible alarms and/or steering wheel locks. The anti-theft alarm system works with the help of sensors installed in and around your vehicle. An impact or movement inside the car will activate its sensors and trigger the alarm system.
If an alarm system is out of your budget, a steering lock, like The Club, is a good option. Thieves don’t have a lot of time to get into a car and try to figure out how to steal it.
INSTALL A TRACKING SYSTEM
In the unfortunate event that your vehicle is stolen, this system uses wireless or GPS technology to send out a signal to the police or a monitoring service of your vehicle's location. This may help authorities recover your vehicle faster.
If your vehicle has been stolen, remember to remain calm and follow these steps:
CONTACT THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY & FILE A STOLEN VEHICLE REPORT
The longer you wait to contact authorities, the lower your chances are to recover your car. Be prepared to tell the police everything you know about your stolen vehicle such as its make/model, color, license plate number and its identification number.
If you do have a tracking system, notify the police as it can help track down the stolen car.
CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
There’s no such thing as "stolen car insurance," but if you have a comprehensive car insurance policy, you're stolen vehicle will be covered. If you don’t have comprehensive car insurance, still contact your insurance company. This will protect you if someone is hurt or property is damaged while the vehicle is missing.
While your car is being searched for, you’ll need another method of transportation. Rental reimbursement coverage will cover some of the cost of a rental car.
If you find your vehicle before the authorities do, let both the police and your insurance provider know.
For a FREE, no-obligation review of your automobile insurance, contact Blue Line Insurance Agency, at 518-523-4321 or visit https://bluelineagency.com/personal-insurance/car-insurance. Our professional agents can assist you in finding the right car insurance you need.