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How to Avoid Getting Your Car Stolen: A Beginner’s Guide

woman finds her car stolen in parking garage

If you’ve ever walked out of the house in the morning only to find your car’s been stolen, you know the sick feeling. Or, after seeing a late movie at the mall, you’re greeted with an empty spot in the parking lot. Whatever your experience, being a victim of car theft is an emotional one. One you’d rather not have. The same can be said about car insurance companies. The last thing they want to hear is that one of their policyholders’ vehicles has been stolen.

Unfortunately, they hear it a lot.  According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), in 2020 there were more than 810,000 vehicles stolen from people in the United States. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) actually bumps that number up to closer to 1 million in 2021. A study conducted by III shows that California, Texas and Florida are the top three states for auto theft. However, NCIB pegs Colorado first and California second for theft by volume. Any way you look at it, it’s a major problem for vehicle owners in the United States.

How to Avoid Car Theft

Car theft is a common issue faced by car owners, and taking the right precautions can help you avoid being a victim. First, you should always lock your car doors and windows when you park your vehicle. Additionally, investing in a car alarm or steering wheel lock can act as a deterrent to potential thieves. Another important step is to avoid leaving valuable items in your car, as this can attract thieves. It’s also a good idea to park in well-lit areas or in areas with high foot traffic. Finally, be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If you see someone suspicious around your car, report it to the authorities immediately.

Freeway Insurance can provide peace of mind for car owners by protecting against unexpected events, such as car theft or accidents. Freeway insurance policies can provide coverage for a variety of situations, including collision, liability, and comprehensive coverage. In the event of theft or damage to your car, comprehensive coverage can help cover the cost of repairs or replacement. Additionally, liability coverage can protect you if you are at fault in an accident and someone is injured or their property is damaged. By choosing a reputable insurance provider like Freeway, you can ensure that you are covered in the event of unexpected events and can drive with confidence knowing that you have protection.

This type of policy covers your ride if it is stolen. It also covers damages and stolen items, such as:

  • Windows
  • Stereos
  • Engines
  • Batteries
  • Catalytic converters
  • Doors
  • Seats
  • Steering wheels
  • Gas tanks

You should know that comprehensive will not cover personal items, although your home insurance or rental insurance may. If your claim is approved, you’ll either get replacement value or actual cash value from your insurer.

Reasons Why Your Stolen Vehicle was Targeted

You may not realize it, but in a majority of cases, thieves aren’t looking at your loaded Chevrolet truck because they want to drive it around. They might want to, but the main reason they steal it is because it’s an easy one to resell to other people or they will find a market for the valuable parts they can strip and sell. These include:

  • Tires and wheels
  • Tailgates
  • Batteries
  • Catalytic Converters
  • Stereo Systems

Where is Your Vehicle Most Likely to be Stolen From?

According to police in Denver, CO (the top of the NCIB list for car theft), your ride is most likely to be swiped by a thief at one of these areas:

  • Malls or any large parking lots with many vehicles
  • Apartment complexes
  • Parking garages, especially in the downtown area
  • Airports and hotels around the airport

It turns out that many of these crimes also occur at or near the people’s residences. So is the fact that, while you can’t completely thief-proof your ride, you can take numerous preventative measures to keep your truck or sedan from becoming another statistic.

What Are the Most Stolen Vehicles?

Most experts agree that pickups are usually at the top of most frequently stolen vehicles. In 2021, criminals also made a range of Hondas and other compacts or sedans prime targets.

  1. Chevrolet Pickup – Lots of demand, easy resell
  2. Ford Pickup – Lots of demand, easy resell
  3. Honda Civic – Interchangeable parts make it easy to strip and sell
  4. Honda Accord – Interchangeable parts make it easy to strip and sell
  5. Toyota Camry – Easy to resell parts
  6. GMC Pickup – Shared parts and easy resell
  7. Nissan Altima – Key fob usage makes it easy to steal
  8. Honda CR-V – Secondary parts market makes it easy to strip and sell car parts
  9. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee – Popular cars to sell in Mexico
  10. Toyota Corolla – Key fob technology makes it easier to steal

Remember, it doesn’t matter what make or model you’re driving, you should take steps to ensure it is not an easy target for stealing or being the victim of car break-ins. You can deter break-ins using key fobs by always locking your doors manually.

What to do to Avoid Getting Your Car Stolen or Broken Into?

The main goal is to make your ride less of a prime target to a thief. This can include some basic steps and precautionary measures, such as parking in a well-lit area when possible, to more sophisticated measures, such as a GPS tracker. There’s nothing you can do to guarantee you won’t be a victim to this crime. It’s an unfortunate fact that, throughout millennia, criminals have always found ways around our most hardcore security measures. But you can use this information to help avoid getting your car stolen.

Tips you can follow to reduce the risk of being a victim

  • Never leave your automobile unlocked – This is inviting trouble. Don’t make it easy for thieves.
  • Never leave the engine running while unattended – This makes even less sense than leaving the doors unlocked. Don’t do it, even for an instant to run into a convenience store.
  • Don’t leave spare keys where thieves can find them – We’ve all been locked out accidentally at one time or another. Be careful about where you stash your extra keys. It’s a good idea to give them to someone else or leave them inside your home.
  • Never leave your windows open – Again, sounds like a no-brainer, but it happens and thieves appreciate the easy pickings.
  • Always park in a well-lit area – The best way is to try and avoid parkinging in areas with poor lighting. Also seek out places with high public visibility…not secluded, far away parking locations.
  • Install a quality audible alarm system or anti-theft device – If your car isn’t already so equipped, install a quality alarm system or anti-theft device.
  • Install an immobilizer system in your vehicle – Because thieves are almost always one step ahead of technology and can hotwire your auto, a secondary preventive device such as a hidden ignition kill switch, fuel cut-off or smart keys can keep your car in your driveway and not in a chop shop.
  • Install a GPS tracking system – Many newer cars and trucks come with the optional security system. If your vehicle is stolen, a tracking system will emit a signal to advise the police of your vehicle’s location, assisting in a faster recovery and minimizing the potential damage.
  • Never leave valuable items in full view – Don’t leave valuables such as purses, iPhones or tablets in plain view. If you have something you value, place it under the seat or in the trunk and out of sight.
  • Vin etching – Vin etching is a procedure to permanently place the VIN number on the windows and windshield, thereby making it harder for criminals to resell parts.
  • Garage parking – If you have a garage at home, use it to park your ride, not store your belongings. 
  • Audible steering wheel lock – It’s a good idea to use a steering wheel lock, and an audible one at that, for a deterrent. If someone sees one truck with a steering lock and one without, they’ll most likely go to the one without. Some steering locks come with a loud audible alarm that engages if it is tampered with.
  • Wheel locks –  Wheel locks only protect against tire, wheel and rim theft. They are a specially designed lug nuts that contain theft-deterrent sockets.

Don’t take anything for granted – By all means, use common sense. If you don’t have a good feeling about your or your safety, listen to your instincts. Don’t park where it might be unsafe for either of you. Move on to a safer place even if you have to walk a little.

Remember…if a thief really wants your car…they’ll get it. If confronted, let them take it. You can always get another one. Lives are irreplaceable.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of Theft

If you realize you have been the victim of auto theft or a car break-in, call your local law enforcement as soon as possible to make a stolen vehicle report. You’ll need to file a police report for a couple of reasons. A police report will be needed by your insurance company in order to process your policy claim. You’ll also need one to help prosecute the thief, if they are found.

Find Affordable Comprehensive Insurance at Freeway Insurance

While you’re checking on anti-theft measures, make sure you’re protected and getting the best rate on your insurance. Get a fast and free car insurance quote online, call us at (800) 777-5620 or stop by one of our convenient locations.

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