Tips to Help Prevent Your Vehicle from Being Stolen
Vehicle theft is not just something you see in Hollywood action movies, it’s a real world problem that can see your ride stolen from right under your nose in no time if you don’t take steps to deter thieves. Most vehicle thefts are quick, both the act itself which can see a vehicle stolen in less than sixty seconds, but also the thieves decision on which vehicle to steal. If you take the time to implement the steps below in your routine and vehicle, you may give enough of a deterrent to keep the thieves moving to the next vehicle and steer yourself away from a headache of a situation nobody wants to deal with!
Keep your vehicle locked
This might sound like common sense, but is often ignored and results in the easiest targets for vehicle thieves – after all you have completed the first and usually hardest step in the vehicle theft process and are basically inviting them in to take your vehicle. If your vehicle does not have automatic locks, make an effort to keep your doors locked at all times unless absolutely necessary not to have them locked. This includes when parked in parking garages or when driving as some thieves are daring enough to take advantage of times when you have a false sense of security to strike.
Keep your vehicle out of sight
If you have the option, park your vehicle inside a secured garage whenever possible. Not only does the extra step of having to break into a garage undetected act as an extra deterrent for thieves, by keeping your vehicle out of sight thieves won’t know it’s even an option and will move on to easier targets more easily accessible.
Keep your vehicle maintained and looking its best
If a thief sees that your vehicle is well taken care of, they will often associate that with a vehicle owner who is more likely to have an alarm on their vehicle, have a way to find or track their vehicle through technology, or who is more likely to notice their vehicle is missing faster giving them less time to get away which are three big reasons they will likely move on from your vehicle. A quick self-wash and wax at home, or at your local car wash are small investments with a large potential payoff in protecting your vehicle.
Keep valuables out of sight
Make your vehicle and its contents look as undesirable as possible by keeping anything of value out of sight by putting items in your glove box, center console, or covered trunk. Items to take extra care in hiding are purses, bags, laptop cases, and anything electronic such as phones, laptops, GPS devices as well as their cords and holders or mounts for dashboards or windshields. Although it may seem silly, you should also keep any lose change out of sight. Even though you might see your spare change from your morning coffee run as nothing significant, thieves have been known to break into vehicles and take as little as a handful of change so it is best to keep it out of sight.
Never leave your vehicle running unattended
While it may seem tempting to let your vehicle run for a few minutes to either cool down in the summer or warm up in the winter before you hit the road, car thieves will never turn down the opportunity to steal such a readily available and easily accessible vehicle any day or time. If you are wanting to let your vehicle run before getting in it, you can use remote start functions if available or installed on your vehicle, while keeping doors locked, or you can start your vehicle with your main key and lock the doors behind you using your spare key to regain access when ready to leave.
Speaking of keys
If you are someone who is frequently locking themselves out of their vehicle, whatever you do, do not keep your spare key hidden under your vehicle. With spare keys hidden under vehicles usually in a few easily accessible spots (saving people from having to climb under their dirty vehicles), it takes a quick few seconds for thieves to check those spots and gain access to your car. Instead, consider having your spare key kept at home, at your office in a secured drawer or cabinet, or with a family member who is fairly available to help you out if you’re ever locked out.
You should also be mindful of where you keep your keys in your home. If you are one of the many who leave their keys on entry tables, in catch-all bowls or on key hooks by the front door, thieves may also peer into your home to see if they can easily access your keys. This goes hand-in-hand with keeping your doors locked when you are not around to monitor as someone could easily pop into your home through an unlocked front door, quickly grab your keys and be on their way while you’re elsewhere in your home or yard.
Location, location, location!
Be mindful of where you are driving and parking your car at all times. If you are getting an uneasy feeling from where you are driving or considering parking, trust your instincts and find another route or parking spot. Even if parking in a spot that makes you more at ease, also try to park in well-lit and visible areas or in areas with security cameras or attendants. The more potential eyes on your vehicle, and therefore witnesses to a vehicle theft, the less likely a thief is to strike.
Choose your vehicles wisely
Even though you’ll never be able to guarantee that your vehicle will never be stolen or broken into, you can make an informed decision when vehicle shopping. For example, aside from looking at safety features available on different makes and models, lists are published each year showing the most frequently stolen vehicles in specific cities, regions and countries. If you’re in the market for a new or used vehicle, keep these lists in mind as whether a fluke in vehicle design that provides easier theft or a higher demand for these vehicles, thieves have them on their radars.
Most frequently stolen vehicles in Ontario in 2017:
- 2016 Toyota 4Runner 4-door 4WD SUV
- 2015 Toyota 4 Runner 4-door 4WD SUV
- 2006 Chevrolet/GMC Tahoe/Yukon 4-door 4WD SUV
- 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 2WD Pick-up
- 2005 Chevrolet/GMC Tahoe/Yukon 4-door 4WD SUV
- 2006 Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 2500 4WD Pick-up
- 2003 Hummer H2 4-door AWD SUV
- 2002 Chevrolet/GMC Tahoe/Yukon 4-door 4WD SUV
- 2014 Toyota 4Runner 4-door 4WD SUV
- 2005 Buick/Chevrolet/GMC Rainier/Trailblazer/Envoy 4-door 2WD SUV
If you need auto insurance, aren’t sure what your auto insurance policy covers, or if you’d like to make revisions to your policy to ensure you’re protected, contact us today.