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Strategies to Stop Car Thieves

A client of O’Connor Insurance shared some insight about car theft. His family had had not one, but two vehicles stolen, taken for a joyride, and left to be discovered by the police.

In the first theft, the driver had left a minivan idling in the street to drop a package off at a friend’s house. An opportunistic thief happened upon the car and off they went! Fortunately, the vehicle was an older model, and suffered only minor scrapes. The second theft was of another minivan left parked in the alley behind their house. Ironically, the car was going to be delivered to a junkyard the next day. This particular vehicle was notoriously easy to break into and steal.

In the aftermath of the second theft, our client took some positive steps to prevent car theft, and provided us with other tips as well.

Car Alarm – An inexpensive car alarm will serve to ward off casual thieves, especially of an older car. When choosing a car, consider built-in alarms as part of the list of features your new car should have.

Anti-Theft Devices – Inexpensive mechanisms that either lock and prevent the steering wheel from turning freely or lock the brake pedal down are good options to protect an older car, particularly if you park on the street. When choosing a new car, ask about anti-theft features built in, such as ignition switches that require special keys to work and make sure you understand how to use them.

Tamper Resistant License Plate Hardware – License plates – particularly the tag – are a target for thieves. Securing the plate with a sturdy cover and tamper-resistant screws can keep your tags on your vehicle.

Lock Your Car – The police will tell you that a large number of auto thefts are facilitated by owners carelessly leaving their car unlocked. An unlocked car means a thief has one less lock to defeat before stealing your vehicle. Modern cars have good anti-theft features, but the car needs to be locked to have complete protection. Keep valuables hidden, or in the trunk.

Despite your efforts, you may still be the victim of an auto theft. In the event of a theft, call the police right way, and have the make, model and color of your car, along with the license plate number. Take a cell phone photo of you car and license plate to keep it handy. Then call your insurance agent to report the theft and get advice on the help your policy might provide, such as a rental car. If you have questions about the coverage on your car, call the independent insurance agents of O’Connor Insurance. We’ll be happy to detail coverage for your car, and help you make adjustments for your needs and budget.