According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, someone steals a vehicle once every 46 seconds in the U.S. Unfortunately, only a little over half of them are ever recovered. Of course, some thieves are professionals and know how to defeat theft deterrents.
This is not the case with most thefts, though. In fact, the NHTSA reports that approximately 1 in 2 vehicle thefts is possible as a result of the driver’s error. Therefore, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight some of the ways Twin Cities drivers can reduce their chances of having their car stolen.
Slowing Down Thieves
What you do and don’t do while parking and exiting your vehicle could have a big impact on the risk of your car being stolen. We like to tell our customers to use the common sense approach. That means:
- Parking under the lights in a parking lot
- Checking to ensure windows and the sunroof are fully closed after parking
- Removing valuable items from the vehicle, or at a minimum, removing them from sight
- Locking all doors when exiting
- Taking the key with you
- Never leave your car running unattended – even if is just for a minute
These simple steps alone make it more difficult for a thief to steal your vehicle. In most cases, thieves are looking for an easy target with a quick getaway. When you slow down that process, your car is less likely to be stolen.
Car Theft Can Happen Anywhere, Anytime
When you think of car theft, you might think of a dark parking garage or empty parking lot late at night. However, car theft can happen at unexpected times and places, too. If you have access to a garage, park your vehicle in it while at home. Also, don’t let your guard down just because you are using your vehicle during the day. Although most thefts occur at night, thieves have been known to steal cars from well-populated areas in broad daylight. Always be aware of your surroundings no matter where you are at.
Know If Your Vehicle is a Target
Hollywood has a way of glamorizing car theft. If you’ve watched many movies, you might assume the most frequently stolen vehicles are luxury vehicles and foreign sports cars. While any vehicle could be targeted, the most commonly stolen vehicles might surprise you. According to the NHTSA, the Honda Accord topped the list in 2014, followed by the Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, and several GM and Ford pickups. The Nissan Altima and Toyota Corolla also rounded out the top 10.
Whether or not your vehicle is a frequently stolen make and model, you may still want to take steps to avoid theft. Start by installing an anti-theft alarm system in your vehicle if it is not already equipped with one. You can also have the VIN permanently etched into the glass, making it much more difficult to remove markings from the vehicle.
If you do walk outside to find that your vehicle is no longer where you left it, don’t panic. Instead, call the police and report it as being stolen. Ask any bystanders if they witnessed unusual activity. Then, contact your insurance company. So long as you have comprehensive auto insurance that covers vehicle theft, you should be reimbursed for your loss.
If you do not have this type of coverage or are unsure of what your policy includes, contact us here at Pentagon Insurance Agency in Elk River. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have and if needed, provide you with a free, no-obligation car insurance quote.
Thom Grubbs is an independent insurance agent and partner at Pentagon Insurance Agency in Elk River, MN. Outside of work, Thom likes to bowl, fish, spend time with his family, and volunteer at his church. Let us know how we can help make life a little easier by talking over your situation.