Hint: Hot weather means more hot cars
It’s a total shocker and one of those events that you think can only happen to somebody else. You park your car, go about your business, whether it’s shopping or an afternoon at the playground with the kids, only to return to find your car gone. Here’s an astounding statistic—every 44 seconds a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States. This number, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, serves as a reminder that everyone who owns a vehicle needs to be aware of the danger of theft. And there are several factors that increase the chances of having your car stolen, including the time of year. Take a look:
Ahhh, summertime, the best time of year! The season when the days are longer, the kids have no school and the whole family can enjoy beach days and barbecues, among other relaxing outdoor activities. But it’s also the time of year when car thieves are on the prowl. And during July and August, they are most successful at swiping your wheels. Here’s why:
• Cracked windows: Lots of us leave our car windows cracked during the summer months to keep the car cooler but this is an open invitation to thieves, making it easier for them to break in and get away.
• Open garages: Another summertime habit that many folks don’t realize can increase their chances of having their vehicle stolen: Leaving the garage door open, even just a few inches, gives thieves easier access to your car.
• Vacation state-of-mind: It’s hard not to get into that total relaxation mode when it’s summertime. Especially if you’re on a road trip. But being a bit to carefree when it comes to locking up your vehicle, whether at a rest stop or at your hotel, is just what crooks are looking for.
A false sense of security
You wouldn’t be alone if you assumed that because you don’t own a luxury vehicle like a Cadillac or a Porsche you are safe from being a victim of a car thief. And while statistics do show that higher-priced vehicles are more often stolen than other cars, the reality is that any vehicle can be stolen, and even older models are attractive to thieves for various reasons.
For example, Honda and Toyota models from the 1990s are often targeted because they don’t have the theft protection or tracking devices that the newer cars do. Another important aspect to consider is the fact that crooks will often steal a car for parts, because many of the older cars have parts that can be used on other cars, making them more valuable. Honda and Toyota parts, for example, are interchangeable, so they rank high on the list of stolen vehicles each year.
Take preventative measures
No matter what kind of car you have or how old it is, it’s a good idea to take steps to prevent it from being stolen. After all, you need your vehicle every day and losing it is more than inconvenient – it’s often costly. Here are some ways you can decrease your chances of becoming a victim:
Use common sense: Don’t leave your keys in your car or the engine running, even if you’re just running into the house for a second
Lock it up: Always lock your vehicle, even in your own driveway and in your garage
Roll up windows: Don’t leave them cracked, even an inch is an invite to thieves
Park smart: Park in well-lit areas
Invest in theft deterrents: Buy a steering wheel lock, get your vehicle ID number etched into your window (police stations often offer this for free), get an ignition disabler that disables the car in the event that someone tries to hotwire it, get smart keys that are coded so the car won’t start without them, and invest in an audible alarm that is motion activated to deter thieves.
What to do if your car is stolen
If your car is stolen, the first thing to do is call the police and have your title, registration, mileage at the time of the theft, and a complete description of the vehicle and what was inside (any personal property) ready. You’ll also want to give the police a list of all those who had keys and access to the car. Next, call your insurance company and report the theft immediately to get your claim started. Also, if you’re financing or leasing your car, you’ll need to call your financing company right away.
Make sure you’re covered
Being aware of the risks of car theft and taking precautions will help you decrease the chances of your vehicle being stolen. But because nothing is foolproof, make sure that you have adequate auto insurance. Your policy should cover both theft and damages to the vehicle in the event that it is recovered but has been damaged in the process of being stolen.
Give us a call at 305.648.7070 or request a quote online to get more information about our numerous auto insurance solutions. Our experienced team is always standing by to assist you in your insurance needs.