Auto theft is both common and costly. In 2007, a motor vehicle was stolen every 28.8 seconds in America, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III, 2009). Unfortunately, you may have limited control over some of the factors that influence vehicle theft trends, such as where you live or work. Many stolen vehicles are never found, and those that are recovered are often stripped, vandalized, or destroyed. While new models come out each year with innovative theft-deterring strategies, the bottom line is every vehicle, old or new, is at risk of theft.
If you have comprehensive coverage, your auto insurance policy will cover vehicle theft. Comprehensive coverage, which is optional, will cover the loss of the vehicle or stolen components, such as airbags or xenon headlights, which are popular on the black market among auto thieves. Each year, the III estimates that more than 75,000 airbags are stolen.
The cost of comprehensive coverage generally depends on your risk of loss, which is based on your age, the type of car you drive, and where you live. Discounts may be available in your state for anti theft devices and auto-recovery systems. Comprehensive insurance also covers fire, vandalism, and weather-related damage.
Prevention and Protection
While insurance offers some financial protection against auto theft, there are other steps you can take to minimize your risk. The simplest and most cost-effective way to deter thieves is to use common sense, such as parking in well-lit areas, closing your windows, locking your doors, removing valuables, and never leaving your keys in the ignition.
For further protection, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing, detecting, and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft, recommends using warning devices, vehicle immobilizers, and tracking systems.
Visible and audible anti-theft devices can deter a thief. Consider audible alarms, steering wheel locks, steering column collars, theft-deterrent decals, tire locks/deflators, and window etching. For a nominal fee, order priligy online glass companies will etch a vehicle’s identification number (VIN) into each glass surface. Because these etched windows will need to be replaced in order to “remarket” the vehicle, it may be less tempting to car thieves.
Ignition protection prevents thieves from hot-wiring your vehicle. “Smart” keys, which are standard for some vehicles, prevent an engine from starting without a specific key that contains a coded computer chip or radio frequency. Kill switches and fuse cut-offs are relatively inexpensive devices that immobilize the fuel or electrical systems, thus preventing the engine from starting. Starter, ignition, and fuel disablers, which are standard for some vehicles, can short circuit the electrical or fuel systems, thus preventing the engine from starting or causing it to shut off quickly.
When a vehicle with a recovery system is stolen, the tracking device emits a signal to the police or a monitoring service. These systems, which vary in price, can expedite the recovery of a stolen vehicle. Hopefully, a quick recovery means less damage to the vehicle.
According to the NCIB, only 62% of stolen vehicles are found. Taking preventative measures can help you beat the odds. In the event that your vehicle is stolen, appropriate insurance coverage can help mitigate your loss.