5 Tips to Protect Your Vehicle from Theft

Technology has helped to change auto theft in significant ways. Engine immobilizers, audible alarms and vehicle recovery systems have made cars harder to steal and easier to recover. While motor vehicle theft rates have declined 42% over the past decade,¹ a car is still stolen every 44 seconds in the United States.² Between 40-50% of thefts are due to driver error,³ including doors that are left unlocked or keys that are left in plain sight.

Follow these five tips to keep your vehicle safe from theft:

1. Stow Valuables Before You Park

Many thieves watch parking lots looking for people who leave valuables in their cars. Stow valuables out of sight before you park so not to attract the attention of thieves.

2. Park in Plain Sight

Always remember to park your car in a safe and visible location. Thieves will act even in broad daylight if they can find cover. Look for well-lit areas and open, unblocked spaces when you park.

3. Do Not Leave Your Vehicle Unattended While Idling

Even if you are just making a brief stop, always take your keys with you. Thieves tend to frequent convenience store parking lots and gas stations, where people may leave their cars running and keys in the ignition. During hot weather, it might be tempting to let your vehicle idle with the air conditioning on. This makes an inviting target for car thieves.

4. Hide All Electronic Cords

Avoid unintentional visual tips for thieves, which include leaving chargers for phones and gadgets as well as holsters for navigational equipment in plain sight.

5. Take Precautions and Make Tracing Your Car Easier

When leaving your car, lock all doors, roll up the windows and remove the keys. If you have one, activate the alarm and set the parking brake. Install wheel locks to prevent theft of wheels and tires. Consider an after-market steering wheel/brake lock if you are in a high-crime area. Having your vehicle’s VIN etched on all windows can also help deter thieves.

If You Believe Your Car was Stolen:

Verify that it was actually stolen and not parked or moved by someone else with access to your vehicle. Then, call the police. If you have a vehicle recovery device or vehicle assistance plan or system, contact the company to activate the locator. Lastly, notify your agent or insurance company.

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Article prepared by Travelers. Copyright 2019; May 2019.

RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Insurance products are not deposits; are not obligations of the credit union; not NCUA insured; and not guaranteed by RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC, RBFCU Services LLC or RBFCU.

¹ U.S. Department of Justice—Federal Bureau of Investigation, http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/property-crime/motor-vehicle-theft/mvtheftmain.pdf
² Safercar.gov, http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Owners/Resources/Theft+Prevention
³ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/communications/pdf/VehicleTheftPrevention.pdf