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Avoiding Vehicle Break-Ins and Car Theft

You might think you are safe from theft unless you drive a high-end car. But Mercedes and BMWs aren’t the only cars catching the attention of car thieves. The vehicles stolen most often in 2017? 1998 Honda Civics and Honda Accords topped the list.

Older cars attract theft more often. The keys are easier to copy, and parts can be sold to a chop shop. Newer cars are also more likely to come stocked with an alarm system and other anti-theft protections. But don’t get a false sense of security if you own a newer car: 2017 Toyota Camrys and 2016 Nissan Altimas were numbers five and six on 2017’s most stolen list. In fact, thieves may be able to get in and drive away with cars using a keyless remote and push-button start with ease.

All of these stats paint a pretty bleak picture. So how can you keep your vehicle safe and prevent car theft? Let’s start with the basics. Car thieves are on the hunt for an easy target. Don’t be one!

Simple ways to deter auto theft

  • Lock it up. Keep your car locked, even if you’re gone for just a few minutes. It doesn’t take long for someone to open the door, swipe your possessions and run.
  • Take the keys. Never leave your keys in the car or leave the car running and unattended — even in your driveway.
  • Keep valuables out of sight. Don’t leave behind valuables such as a briefcase, purse, shopping bags or electronics. If you must leave something behind, hide it in the trunk or another hidden spot. (Is your personal property protected if your vehicle is stolen?)
  • Roll up your windows. And not just halfway — put them all the way up — and close the moonroof.
  • Watch where you park. Park in a bright, populated area whenever possible. It’s safer for you and your vehicle, and thieves are apt to avoid well-lit areas.
  • How you park matters, too. Make your vehicle more difficult to move. Don’t back into your space in a parking garage (that makes for a quick exit). In a parking lot, face your wheels toward the curb or another vehicle.
  • Be aware of surroundings. Look around. Be on the lookout for a shady situation. If you feel unsafe leaving your car, listen to your intuition. Find somewhere else to park.

How you can avoid a car break-in

Even if you’ve got the basics covered, some vehicles may need more protection in order to prevent a break-in. Deter even more car thieves with these tips:

  • Install an anti-theft system. A steering wheel lock, alarm system or other obvious hurdle will give a thief pause.
  • Consider an immobilizing device. Fuel cut-offs, “kill” switches, break locks and smart keys render your vehicle immobile to anyone but you.
  • Install a vehicle tracking device. This lets you see your vehicle’s whereabouts if stolen and helps police in recovering it.
  • Review your documents. Keep your registration and insurance card in your glove box, but keep the title at home in a safe place. Remove any other important documents you wouldn’t want falling into the wrong hands.
  • Keep keys out of sight. Do you keep your keys near the door at home? Think about the ease with which someone could slip inside, take your keys and leave — now with access to your vehicle. Move the keys deeper into your home, and keep the door or screen locked, even when you’re inside.

Protecting your car doesn’t need to end with these tips. Having the right car insurance will help you rest easy at night knowing you’re protected from the what-ifs, and will help if your car is stolen. Your local Farm Bureau agent can help you choose the option that is right for you.