How to Prevent Becoming a Victim of Car Theft

March 10, 2015

How to Prevent Becoming a Victim of Car TheftIt happens to thousands of Canadians every year. You grab your keys and head out to your vehicle only to discover it isn’t there. Maybe you were just popping into the store for a minute, maybe you could even see your vehicle from where you were, but just like that it’s gone. Vamoose. And it only took a second.

Auto theft costs Canadians close to $1-billion annually, including $542 million in insurance alone. Cars are stolen for a number of reasons. Many are part of elaborate fraud rings that involve selling the stolen vehicles abroad, while others are sold for parts or to unsuspecting consumers, used to get somewhere, or as part of another crime. No matter the reason, there are some things you can do to prevent finding yourself as a victim of auto theft.

We’ve rounded up a list of tips to help prevent car theft and save you money on your car insurance.

Lock your doors and grab your keys

You’re practically giving your car away to thieves if you leave your doors unlocked or your keys in the car, yet unsuspecting Canadians are inconvenienced for this simple reason each day. Even if you’re only running in for a second, turn your ignition off, roll up your windows, lock all your doors, and take your keys with you. Thieves will commonly continue checking parked cars until they find one that’s unlocked.

Speaking of keys, never leave a spare set in your car. Don’t be fooled, thieves know exactly where to look.

Park in well lit places

The busier the area, the better. Parking in well lit and well attended areas will help make your car less of a target as thieves tend to prefer vehicles parked in isolation.

Turn your wheels to the side

The Toronto Police Service recommends this handy tip. Turning your wheels to the side makes it harder for your vehicle to be towed by would-be thieves (believe it or not, some thieves are so brazen they’ll tow your car away.)

Lock valuables in your trunk

GPS systems, laptops and stereo equipment are among the most likely items to be stolen from a vehicle. Leaving these or any other valuable items (including shopping bags) in sight can be enough incentive for thieves to burglarize or steal your vehicle. Even out-in-the-open loose change can be a problem. Lock these things away before you reach your destination to avoid potential thieves seeing you in action. Police also recommend wiping away evidence that there are valuables stored in your car. Make sure your GPS system didn’t leave suction marks, for example.

It’s just like the old adage goes: out of sight, out of mind.

Park in your garage

If you have a garage use it and make sure you lock that too. Also, never hang your keys by your front door. Although it’s convenient to have them handy when you need them, thieves frequently break into houses just to steal car keys.

Increase your security features

Installing additional security features can greatly reduce the chances of having your vehicle stolen and some even lower your auto insurance rates. Car alarms, steering wheel locks (a strong visual deterrent), immobilizers, and tracking and recovery devices are four great protective measures.

Plan ahead

Write down your vehicle identification number and keep it in a safe place, and tuck business cards or address labels into the side pockets of your vehicle to help police identify you as the owner. When you park your car, remember to take a quick mental snapshot of where it is so that you can provide those details to the police should anything happen.

If your vehicle is stolen, act fast

If your vehicle is stolen notify the police right away then contact your insurance company. You’ll need to provide your insurance company with a few things:

  • When, where and at what time you last saw your vehicle
  • Your vehicle identification number
  • The police department where you filed your report as well as the report number
  • Your contact information

Lower risk of being stolen = lower rates

All of these preventative measures will help make your vehicle less of a target, while adding approved after-market anti-theft features may lower your insurance rates. It pays to plan ahead.  Compare auto insurance quotes today to make sure you’re getting the best car insurance rates for your coverage.