Tips to Act On During Vehicle Theft Prevention Month
Don’t be a part of this statistic: Over 770,000 drivers fall victim to vehicle theft each year. In fact, a vehicle is stolen about every 41 seconds in America. With July being Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, it’s a good time to remind yourself of a few simple, yet important tips to prevent your car from being stolen — a crime that totaled about $6 billion in 2017.
Don’t Make Your Vehicle a Target
Nearly half of vehicle theft is due to driver error, such as leaving your keys in the vehicle.
Always: take your keys with you, close your windows and lock the doors, and park in well-lit areas.
Never: leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen, or leave the area while your vehicle is running.
Protect Your Vehicle
There are several different types of antitheft systems and devices designed to make vehicles more difficult to steal, or easier to trace and recover. Here’s how some of them work:
Audible and Visible Devices. Alarms deter theft because they’ll loudly bring attention to someone trying to get into your car. Steering wheel locks and theft-deterrent decals warn a would-be thief to stay away.
Immobilizing-Type Devices. This antitheft system makes it nearly impossible for thieves to hot-wire your vehicle.
Vehicle Recovery Systems. If your vehicle is stolen and has this system, law enforcement may be able to tap into this electronic transmission technology and locate your vehicle — and other stolen vehicles.
Where’s My Ride?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where your vehicle has been stolen, follow these steps:
Contact police immediately to file a stolen-vehicle report. You’ll need a copy of the police report and/or a case number to provide to your insurance company. You may also be asked to provide the following information:
license plate number;
make, model, and color of your vehicle; and
vehicle identification number (VIN) and any identifying characteristics.
Contact your insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen.
If you find your vehicle before authorities do, contact the police and your insurance company immediately.