8 Tips to Defend Yourself Against Auto Theft

Over 700,00 vehicle thefts were reported in 2010, at a total loss value of more than $50 million. Each year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety releases a list detailing the most stolen cars and the steps you can take to deter a car theft. Still a car is stolen in the United States every 24 seconds. Auto theft continues to thrive despite all the available information and regardless of new anti-theft technology that is included in each new-year model cars.

Follow these simple steps to protect yourself and your vehicle from theft and to avoid the time, financial burden and hassle of a stolen car.

1. Use more than just the factory anti-theft system

It is very important to have a good quality anti-theft system installed in your car. Most cars come with one factory installed however, it is smart to add extra anti-theft features after market. You should skip the sticker on your window advertising what type of system it is, because when you display this information you could actually be helping thieves know what they have to do to get around the system. It’s also important to avoid displaying a sticker for your audio system; this could lure more potential thieves to your car.

2. Invest in additional safety features.

So many things can set off your standard car alarm; from a loud Harley to a rumbling garbage truck to a small bump. For this reason, people have been conditioned to tune them out when they hear them sounding. Instead of a motion-sensitive car alarm – the type that is activated by loud noise or someone just bumping into your car – consider investing in one that will notify you as soon as your alarm is activated when your vehicle has been breached.

3. Make sure your alarm is somewhere inaccessible to thieves.

Be sure that your car alarm system is in a place not easily accessible from the outside. Leave nothing exposed that will make it easy for thieves to disable it and easily break into your car. If possible, look into using a hood lock cable so the thief can’t get to your battery or car alarm mechanism stored under your hood.

4. Do not leave any valuables or items that may seem like valuables in plain sight.

Anything left on the car seat or installed in plain view on your dash can be very tempting car thieves. If it seems like a the item is easily accessible by simply breaking a window or opening the door, a thief will see it the same way. Take valuable items with you or store them in the trunk. Don’t give a thief a reason to break your window and cause costly damage.

5. Get a steering wheel lock

When you lock your steering wheel in place, the car is useless to any driver but the one who is able to disable the steering wheel lock. No steering means no driving. This small added anti-theft devise can make all the difference.

6. Never leave your keys in the car.

Don’t leave your keys in the ignition when you are parked or even to run in the store for a quick errand. Car theft is a crime of opportunity, if you jump out of your car to drop something off or run to the mailbox, a thief could jump in and drive away with your car. This may seem like an extreme tactic, but it is certainly not unheard of.

7. Never leave personal information in your car.

Keep your registration and insurance information with you instead of storing it in your car. These documents usually include your home address and thieves can use them to rob your house or to steal your identity. Do not leave any items that may be used later to break into your home or gain access to your garage such as a spare key or garage door clicker.

8. Park wisely

Whenever possible, park in lots and garages that have security or a parking lot attendant. If you can’t park in a safe lot or garage, try and park near a heavy traffic area. Parking in a well visited area will deter car thieves from trying to break into your car with witnesses around. If possible, opt to pay the extra couple of dollars for a monitored parking lot. When you are parked at home, leave your car in a lighted area or in your home garage. It is much less safe to leave a car parked on the street.

Auto theft is a crime of opportunity, by taking away as many opportunities as possible for a thief to access your car you increase your chances of staying safe. As with anything that is of value to you, the most important protection you can give your car is to take a proactive approach to security when you leave it unattended.

About the Author – This article was written by Al Boenker Insurance, an industry professional in Texas auto insurance. We have more than 40 years of experience serving the Texas community and we specialize in providing our customers with customized advice about auto insurance in Texas as well as getting the best rate available.

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