One of the best ways to help ensure that a vehicle remains parked in a garage or parking lot rather than in the hands of a thief is through the process of "target hardening." Developed by municipal police forces, this term refers to anything done to a home or vehicle to make it less appealing to thieves. This can include extra locks, a steering wheel lockout device, VIN etching, or an alarm system. This extra security on a vehicle means that it will take extra time and effort to break into and remove, and unless the vehicle is rare or extremely expensive, most thieves will move on for fear of getting caught or simply because they want more instant gratification. Not only can installing security devices help to reduce the chance of a stolen or damaged car, but it can also help lower car insurance rates.
A basic car insurance quote will not come with any discounts for security devices, and typically it will require contacting your insurance company along with providing proof of installation for a discount to be considered. Once this proof has been received, however, the money saved can be substantial - anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of your monthly premium. The amount saved will depend on the type and the amount of devices installed, as well as statistics which demonstrate their effectiveness. For example, a wheel locking device can be excellent for deterring casual thieves, but can be bypassed with specialized knowledge. VIN etching, on the other hand, makes the resale of a vehicle nearly impossible without changing out every single window, a feat which few amateur or even career thieves are willing to undertake.
Since car insurance providers operate on the basis of risk, anything that lowers the chance to have a claim filed on an insurance policy represents a reduction in that risk. By making a car safer, the chance that it will be stolen and a claim made drops significantly, and many car insurance companies are willing to pass that savings on to consumers. While there is an upper limit to the discounts to be had for increasing a car's safety, many devices can be purchased for a small amount compared to the amount saved over time from a recurring premium payment.
Although no security system is perfect, anything that lowers the statistical chance of break-ins will be looked upon favorably by the insurance company. For this reason, it is important that those owners who have security devices installed do not take a car insurance quote at face value, but rather make sure that every device is documented and on file with the insurance company, both for discounts and for eventual claims filed.