How to Prevent Your Car from Being Stolen
Dealing with a car theft is never fun, but with the right knowledge and a bit of preparation, you can smooth the process -- and perhaps avoid it entirely.
To protect your car from being stolen, here are some simple measures you can easily take to prevent theft before it happens.
Lock your car
Always lock your car doors, windows, and sunroof when you leave your vehicle, even if you'll only be away for a short period. Double-check to make sure all windows are closed securely.
Park in well-lit areas
When parking your car or truck, choose well-lit and populated areas. This is a quick and easy way to scare off potential thieves and increase the chances of someone noticing any suspicious activity around your vehicle.
Use anti-theft devices
It doesn’t take much to install security devices that make it extra difficult for thieves to steal your car. To be extra safe, you might look into purchasing one of the following:
- Steering wheel lock: This device locks onto the steering wheel, making it virtually impossible for someone to drive the car without removing the lock.
- Alarm system: Install a custom powerful alarm system that blares when someone tries to break into or tamper with your vehicle.
- Immobilizer: These systems prevent the engine from starting without the correct manual key or electronic code.
- GPS tracking system: Add a GPS tracking device to a hidden part of your car and easily locate your vehicle if it's stolen.
Ask if you qualify for a car insurance discount with the use of an anti-theft device.
Get Comprehensive Auto Insurance Before There’s a Problem, Not After
Having comprehensive auto insurance coverage can provide financial protection in case your car is stolen or damaged. Take a moment now to review your insurance policy to ensure you have appropriate coverage and understand the terms and conditions related to theft.
Try starting with a few of these preventive measures and protect your vehicle from thieves before there’s an issue. Remember that even under perfect management, it’s still possible for determined thieves to find ways to bypass your security measures. It’s absolutely essential to make sure you’re protected by insurance.
Be cautious with spare keys
Never leave spare keys in obvious hiding places such as the glove compartment or under the vehicle, as car thieves often check these areas first. It’s best to keep spare keys in a secure location or give them to trusted community members.
Take a moment to research safe neighborhoods before you park. Try to avoid leaving valuable items in your car, especially where they can be easily seen from the outside.
If you have to leave something important behind, tuck it under a seat or in a compartment out of sight. If you notice any suspicious activity near your car or truck, be careful about engaging directly, and call the authorities after quickly assessing the threat.
My Car Was Stolen. Now What?
You’ll need to take immediate action. The sooner you report the theft and get your documentation in order, the greater the chances of recovering your vehicle and any belongings you may have left behind. Stay calm and follow this quick breakdown of next steps.
Contact the police
As soon as you realize your car has been stolen, immediately call the police and file a stolen vehicle report. They will guide you through carefully providing all the necessary details, including the make, model, color, license plate number, approximate value, internal belongings, and any distinguishing features of your car. Be absolutely sure to obtain a digital or printed copy of the police report for your insurance claim.
Gather additional documentation
Your insurance company will probably require certain documents and additional information to process a stolen car claim. Be prepared to send them the following:
- The police report (should include make, model, year, color, vehicle identification number or VIN, license plate number, and any unique features or modifications)
- Your driver's license
- Vehicle registration
- Proof of ownership (such as the vehicle title or purchase agreement)
- Last known location
- Time of theft
Notify your insurance company and check your policy
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to report the theft. First, provide them with all of the documentation you’ve already gathered above, plus any missing description or details of the event. An insurance professional will guide you through the claims process and explain the coverage and procedures specific to your policy. At this point, you’ve done everything you can. Follow their instructions and provide any additional requested information quickly to ensure a smooth claims process.
If you have time, you may also like to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your auto insurance policy to explore and understand the coverage you have for stolen vehicles. Most standard auto insurance policies provide coverage for theft under the comprehensive coverage section.
Coverage limits and deductibles vary, so be sure to review your policy or speak with an insurance agent to understand the specifics of your coverage.
Hot tip: Rental vehicle coverage: If your policy includes rental vehicle coverage, ask your insurance company about the possibility of obtaining a rental car while your claim is being processed and your vehicle is missing.