8 Tips For Protecting Yourself From Auto Theft

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Published: 22nd October 2012
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In 2010, over 700,00 vehicle were reported stolen, costing car owners a total loss of more than $50 million. Every year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety releases a report of the most stolen cars and includes steps you can take to deter a car theft. Despite all this, a car is still stolen in the United States every 24 seconds. Auto theft continues to thrive even with all the available information and regardless of new anti-theft technology that is included in each new-year model cars.

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your vehicle and to avoid the time, financial burden and overall hassle of a stolen car.

1. Have discrete anti-theft systems

While having an excellent anti-theft system installed in your car is a must, skip the sticker on your window advertising what type of system it is. By displaying this information you could actually be helping thieves know what they have to do to get around the system. It's also a bad idea to display a sticker for your audio system, this only serves to lure more potential thieves to your car.

2. Invest in additional safety features.

Since it seems like everything from a loud Harley to a rumbling garbage truck can set off a car alarm, so people have been conditioned to tune them out. Instead of a motion-sensitive car alarm, one that is activated by loud noise or someone just bumping into your car, upgrade to one that has a pager that will notify you as soon as your alarm is activated when your vehicle has been breached.

3. Check for exposed wiring.

Make sure your car alarm system is properly secure. Leave nothing exposed that will make it easy for thieves to disable. You might even consider using a hood lock cable so the thief can't get to your battery or car alarm mechanism.

4. Don't leave valuables in your car.

Any items that you leave in plain view exposed in your car are temptations for car thieves to break in and steal. Keep your valuables out of plain sight - the best idea is to always take them with you, if you can't you should store them in the trunk.

5. Use 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. Don't leave your keys in the car.

Never leave your keys in your car for any reason. If you are in the habit of leaving them in the ignition when you are parked or even for a quick errand, break that habit fast because you might turn around and find your car gone. Car theft is mostly a crime of opportunity, if you jump out of your car to drop something off or run to the mailbox, a thief may see the opportunity to jump in and drive away. Thieves who break into your parked car will almost always go looking for the "spare" set of keys an owner sometimes leaves hidden in the car. Never leave keys in the car.

7. Don't leave any personal information in your car.

Keep your registration and insurance information with you. These documents include your home address and thieves might use them to rob your house or to steal your identity. Also be careful not to leave a spare garage door opener or house key in your car, a thief might take this and break into your home later as well.

8. Park wisely

When you park your car for any amount of time leave it in parking lots and garages that have security or a parking lot attendant watching out for it. When this is not an option, park near the entrance of these facilities to ensure the most foot traffic (and the most potential witnesses). Also, when parked in long term lots, stay away from far away and abandoned corners. If you can, it is worth it to pay the extra couple of dollars for the monitored parking lot instead of using the free parking on the less-trafficked side streets in a busy metropolitan area. Consider safety even when you park at home; leave your car in a lighted area or in your home garage.

Auto theft is ultimately a crime of opportunity, so when you take away as many opportunities as possible for a thief to access your car you increase your chances of keeping your car secure. So take a proactive approach to security when you leave your car unattended.

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

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