Want to make your vehicle less attractive to car thieves? Rule #1: The quicker a car thief can steal your vehicle, the more attractive it is. Anything you can do to slow down professional car thieves or joy riders, say the auto insurance experts at GEICO, will make your vehicle a less appealing target.
Here are some ways GEICO recommends to help drivers protect their vehicles:
1. Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even while driving.
2. When parked, never leave your keys in the car. Close all the windows and the sunroof.
3. Never leave your car running and unattended.
4. Avoid leaving valuables inside your vehicle where passersby can see them.
5. Do not leave your vehicle title in the car. Too often a car thief is pulled over and gets away from the police because he or she can produce the auto registration. (If multiple drivers use the vehicle, the best suggestion would be to hide the registration in a secret location in the car that only the owners know.)
6. Know where you’re going. Avoid known high crime areas even if the alternate route takes longer.
7. Install an anti-theft system in your vehicle if it doesn’t have one. Thieves are reluctant to steal vehicles if they know the cars can be recovered quickly. Many insurers offer discounts for these types of systems.
- A mechanism that locks onto the steering wheel can be a very visible sign that you’ve taken steps to protect your vehicle.
- Ignition cut-off systems that prevent a car from being started.
- Some new cars come with passive alarms that activate automatically when the key is removed from the ignition.
- One system emits a signal that can be tracked by the police.
8. Thieves prefer to work in the dark. Be particularly cautious at night about where you park your car. Park it in a well-lit area if possible.
9. Look around. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in garages, parking lots and gas stations.
10. Have your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) etched on each of the windows. Car thieves want to get off cheap. They don’t want to go to the expense of replacing all the glass.
11. On an incline, leave your car in park or in gear with the wheels turned toward the curb or some other obstruction. This makes it harder for thieves to tow your vehicle.
12. If confronted by a carjacker, do not resist. Cars can be replaced; you can’t.
Reprinted with permission by GEICO (www.geico.com).