Last year was a record year for car thefts in nearby Milwaukee. According to a local news and media outlet, Milwaukee saw an astounding 7,340 vehicles reported stolen in 2015 — up nearly 11 percent over the year before. Living in the Waukesha area, that story hits close to home. Car insurance agencies work to protect their customers against risks and equip them to minimize their exposure. That is why we are offering up several tips to avoid being a victim of car theft.
Know Which Vehicles are Easy Targets
Some vehicles are more highly targeted for theft than others, and they probably are not the ones you might think of. The Milwaukee Police Department says that minivans like the Dodge Caravan, as well as sedans like the Honda Accord and Honda Civic were targeted the most. You don’t have to drive a flashy sports car or expensive luxury vehicle to be targeted. Know your risk and take it into consideration whenever you leave your vehicle anywhere other than your garage.
Take Proper Safety Precautions
There are certain habits you can adopt that may reduce your risk of having your vehicle stolen:
- Always keep your car locked even when you are driving it
- Never park your car with the windows cracked open
- Always park in a well-lit area if possible (thieves love the dark)
- If you must park in a parking garage, park as close to the security camera as possible.
- Never leave your car running unattended
- Never leave the keys in your car
Don’t Leave Valuables in Your Vehicle
Valuables left in plain site are an invitation for thieves to break into your car and perhaps even steal it. Personal electronics, cell phones, purses, and money are all enticing to criminal eyes. Leaving them in the trunk or center console doesn’t necessarily work, either. Thieves know the tricks drivers use to cover up valuable possessions. Think ahead, and leave any valuables you can’t take with you at home.
Utilize an Anti-Theft Device
Anti-theft devices are deterrents for thieves who are looking for a quick and easy getaway. There are different types of these devices on the market, each that offer various benefits. Some can make it harder to hot-wire a vehicle, while others lock the steering wheel in place. There are also GPS tracking devices that make it easier for the police to recover your vehicle if it is stolen. Using this type of technology might even qualify you for a discount on your car insurance rates depending on your insurer.
Make Sure You Have Comprehensive Coverage in Place
Car insurance only covers theft of your vehicle if you have comprehensive protection on your policy. If your car is stolen or recovered damaged beyond repair, your comprehensive insurance coverage can help reimburse you for your loss. Keep in mind that your deductible will apply to the claim. If your vehicle is stolen, contact the police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report, and then contact your insurance company to start the claim. You may also need to inform your lender of the theft if your vehicle was financed or leased.