Vehicle theft is on the rise, possibly because more cars are parked due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. According to FBI data, a vehicle is stolen every 41 seconds. Annual losses total $6 billion at an average of $8,407 per incident.
Anti-theft options are becoming more and more sophisticated, which can sometimes lead to a false sense of security. Car thieves are also becoming more sophisticated. It’s important for car owners to take steps to protect their vehicles. For most of us, our cars are one of our largest investments – and something we depend on.
Using a little common sense and readily available theft prevention devices can minimize auto theft. The more layers of protection, the less likely your car will be stolen. Keep these four keys to theft prevention in mind for your vehicle:
Most vehicle thefts are easily preventable. Whenever you leave your car, take a moment to check that you have:
- Parked in a well-lit area
- Locked the doors and closed the windows
- Removed spare keys from inside the vehicle
- Move valuables and other items out of view
Vehicles that are easy to break into and allow for a quick getaway are attractive to thieves. Visible theft deterrents signal that your car could be difficult to steal. Consider using:
- Steering wheel locks
- Brake pedal locks
- Theft deterrent decals
- Audible alarm systems
Immobilizing devices prevent a car from being hot-wired. Many late model vehicles come with immobilization devices standard, and some after-market options are available for earlier model cars. These include:
- Smart keys
- Fuse cut-offs
- Kill switches
- Starter or fuel pump disablers
- Wireless ignition authentication systems
A tracking device emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when a vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ telematics, which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.
Auto liability insurance is required in all 50 states, but coverage against theft – the comprehensive coverage – is optional. For more information, call your AAA insurance agent or insurance customer service, or visit your local branch.