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A car is stolen in the US every 43 seconds. Professional thieves can break into and then drive away with your car in less than two minutes. About 240 per 100,000 registered motorists will be a victim of auto theft in the course of a year. Keeping your vehicle safe is everyone’s responsibility. The police, government officials, insurers, vehicle manufacturers and other citizens work together in a cooperative effort to prevent auto theft and fraud, and there are a number of easy steps you can take to protect your property as well.
Some of these steps are simple, while others require a little more effort. For starters, never leave your car running while unattended. Always turn off the engine and roll up the windows, even when leaving your car for a short time. Do not leave your keys in the car! Nearly 20% of cars stolen still have the keys in the ignition. Using removable or hidden radios, stereos and CD players is good idea for protecting your audio system (as well as discrete placement of speakers). To lessen the chance of thieves seeing your car as an easy mark, keep your valuables hidden, as well as not leaving your GPS out on your dashboard. Parking in well lit and busy areas is another way to deter thieves. Locking your car and garage can be another factor in keeping your property safe.
Another idea is to cover your garage windows, thus keeping prying eyes from seeing your vehicles and other valuables. This can also make it more difficult to see if you are or are not home. Installing and having alarm systems and anti-theft devices (such as ignition cut-off switches, fuel cut-off devices, steering wheel locks and hood locks) slows a thief down and decreases the chance of theft. Many insurers offer a discount, ranging from 5% to 25%, on comprehensive coverage to policy holders who have these equipped. Making your car easy to identify by either etching your car’s VIN onto the windows and under the hood and trunk lid of your car, or by using a dye or electric marker (you can sometimes borrow markers from your local police department or rent from a hardware store) can be very helpful if your vehicle is stolen. There are lists available of the most frequently stolen vehicles that you can check before you purchase a car as well.
It is also important to keep your documents safe by never leaving your vehicles title in your car’s glove compartment. Yes, if you are stopped, the police officer will ask you for license and registration, so you need to keep the registration in the car when you are driving. But thieves can use this information to sell your car or to impersonate you if they are stopped by the police. So it is important to keep a copy of your car’s VIN, license plate number, insurance identification and vehicle registration in safe place as well. If your vehicle is stolen you will need the information to complete police and insurance reports.
All of this may seem like a lot of extra effort. But compared to the aggravation of having your car or property stolen, it’s well worth the trouble.
Avalon Agency Insurance Pound Ridge, NY All Lines of Insurance for New York, Connecticut and New Jersey 800-676-4921