It’s one of those things you never think will happen to you. Until you walk outside to find your window busted or your parking spot empty. Car theft is a sad reality, but there are many precautions you can take to hopefully prevent it from happening.
Let’s Start With Common Sense
You wouldn’t leave your house keys hanging from your door knob, would you? Or leave your front door wide open while you sleep at night, right? The same common sense applies to your car.
- Don’t leave your keys in your car. This might seem like a no-brainer, but some people assume their cars are safe in their garages. Even if you’re parked in the garage and the door is closed, it’s best to take your keys and any valuables with you.
- Lock your doors. Make a habit of locking your doors with your key fob after you’ve gotten out, rather than locking them using the lock button on the door. This way you ensure your doors are locked, and you don’t risk locking yourself out!
- Keep your windows and sunroof closed. Even if you live where it’s blazing hot, leaving your windows cracked makes breaking in that much easier.
- Don’t leave valuables in your car – It’s especially wise not to leave valuables out in the open. Even if they’re in your trunk or glove compartment, this’ll be an added bonus for a burglar and an added bummer for you.
- Park in well lit areas – Car thieves like to work at night. If you don’t have a garage, it’s best to keep your car parked in a well lit area like under a street light. Parking near surveillance cameras is an added deterrent.
Next Level Theft Prevention
Keep in mind that living or parking in “a good neighborhood” doesn’t make you exempt from car theft. Stolen cars or car break ins can happen anywhere.
- Never leave your car running and unattended. During colder months, you might be tempted to leave your car warming up in the driveway, so it’s nice and toasty for your ride to work. This is one of the leading instigators of car theft. So, skip the urge to do so and bundle up instead.
- Do not leave the title in your car, and keep your registration in a secret place. With the title in hand, car thieves can essentially sell your car. Treat this document like you do your social security card or marriage license, and put it somewhere secure in your home. Putting your registration in a less obvious place can sometimes help police recover a stolen vehicle more quickly because, if pulled over, the thief won’t be able to find the proper paperwork.
- Install an anti-theft system. Many insurance policies will cover the installation of a security alarm system. It’s best to have a professional install the system, but once done, your car will be much safer. There are a few other anti-theft options you can choose from including a steering wheel lock, tire lock (boot), an electronic tracking system, and a kill switch.
- If you’re on the road and can’t avoid leaving valuables in your car, consider investing in a lock box or car safe. There are a variety of sizes and styles available; some even disguised as everyday items like a can of soda.
- Keeping your car simple could help you avoid car theft. It might sound obvious, but expensive wheels, fancy screens, or valuable speakers can be magnets for anyone looking to make some quick cash.
What To Do If Your Car is Stolen
If your car was broken into or stolen, leave everything as you found it, and call the police. Insurance is a lot less helpful when you don’t have a legitimate police report. While you wait for the police to arrive, make a list of valuable accessories (ie. stereo, rims, grill etc.) and unique markers that all help them identify your car.
Notify The Masses
Tell your neighbors, family, and even your Facebook friends about your stolen car. Your neighbors may have seen some suspicious activity and word travels fast on social media. With extra eyes looking out for your ride, you might have a better chance of getting it back.
Finally, you should notify your insurance provider to file a claim and cancel your policy when all is settled. During the claims process, the insurance adjuster will ask you questions about your car and the incident such as where you parked and whether you filed a police report. If you have comprehensive coverage, the insurance company will pay you the actual cash value of your stolen car (after a certain waiting period to see if your car turns up).