It's that time of year when we pack our cars full of packages, boxes and bags. We drive from store to store, filling our trunks and backseats with presents for the family. But as we walk through the parking lot, we never know who may be watching us. Waiting for us to leave our car doors unlocked so they can steal all of our gifts, or maybe even the car itself.
In fact, over 230,000 cars are stolen each year. That's over $8 billion dollars worth of cars and trucks. In most cases, an auto insurance company has to pay for the stolen vehicle, which is one reason auto insurance rates continue to rise. Honda and Toyota are two of the most popular lines of car stolen, with Cadillac also a popular choice.
Hide Your Possessions
The first and easiest step is to hide your possessions and gifts. Instead of stacking your backseat full of packages, put them in your trunk. Also keep other valuables like cell phone chargers, purses, wallets, etc. hidden in the glove compartment or center console. Just think of how easy it would be for someone to break the passenger window and clear out the backseat. So, keep everything out of sight, and out of mind.
Use Anti-Theft Devices
Car alarms are wonderful, but almost obsolete in the sense that hardly anyone pays attention to them anymore. And more often than not, a car thief can disable them within seconds of alarming. So even if you have a car alarm, don't let it give you a false sense of security. Take extra precautions and purchase other anti-theft devices.
One device is The Club. This is a locking metal contraption that fits inside your steering wheel and makes it impossible for anyone to drive the vehicle. There are several other types of "club" type devices that fit in the steering wheel. Of course, these can be disabled by a car thief too, but it adds another layer of protection that may deter the thief. He may see the device, and then move on to another vehicle that doesn't have one. The thief wants a car that’s easy to steal.
Park in Well Lit, Visible Areas
Use common sense when parking. Trust your gut instincts. Park in well lit places, and do not park in unfamiliar areas. Also, do not park in areas that are not visible. That is, between two large vans or trucks, or behind any large structures. You want you and your car to be as visible as possible.
Ask for Help
If you are purchasing high-ticket items or jewelry, don't hesitate to ask for assistance to your vehicle. Many times a security guard or even store clerk will accompany you to your vehicle. It may also be a good idea to take all high-ticket purchases directly home instead of keeping them in your car.
Consult Your Auto Insurance Company
One important thing to do is ask your auto insurance company if theft is covered with your policy. If you have comprehensive or full coverage, it likely is, but you will want to be sure. If the possessions stolen from the vehicle are less than your deductible, however, it will be unwise to file a claim with your company. Only file claims with your auto insurance company if the theft is more than the price of your deductible. And if you are unhappy with your coverage, or theft is not a cover option, then check for new auto insurance rates online and find a new provider.