Security and Safety

An Agent’s Guide to Deterring Car Thieves

By Joshua Baethge 5.14.18

The last thing anyone wants is to find their car vandalized. But sometimes it happens even when you’ve taken all reasonable precautions. When situations like this arise, the decisions you made when you purchased auto insurance will ultimately determine how much financial pain you will face.

Know What’s Covered

Loretta Anderson, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Van Alstyne, likes to remind her clients that auto insurance only covers items that were attached to the vehicle at the factory.

Coverage for personal items falls under homeowners policies. If stolen from your vehicle, they’d be covered under the 10 percent extension off-premises of their personal property coverage amount.

“I try to educate my clients about this, because people will call to file personal items thinking they are covered on their auto policy,” Anderson says.

Get Comprehensive Coverage

Clients can use their auto insurance to cover situations like theft and vandalism of their vehicle, as well as accidents involving animals and flood damage. However, state-minimum insurance does not cover this.

“If they want to have coverage for vandalism, or if their vehicle were to be stolen, they would need to have comprehensive coverage, also referred to as ‘other than collision,” Anderson says. “This is also sometimes referred to as ‘full coverage.’”

Hide Your Valuables

While having the right insurance can go a long way toward peace of mind, preventive actions can often stop problems before they happen. Many thefts are crimes of opportunity, where thieves quickly take personal items like wallets or purses that are in plain view.

“I always tell my own children, ‘Do not leave your purse in there in plain sight, because they will take it,” Anderson says. “Things have to be hidden so there isn’t an opportunity for theft to occur.”

Consider an Anti-Theft Device

Alarm systems are good deterrents because the attention they garner is enough to spook most thieves. Alarms come in various levels of sophistication. Some are triggered by opening doors, while others can be set off by motion, vibration, or even the sound of breaking glass. Based on the quality, they can earn you insurance deductions.

Keyless entry is another feature that can both discourage theft and provide an insurance discount. Tracking-device systems like OnStar can also be valuable tools in the event your car is stolen.

“The discounts for anti-theft vary based on the alarm features,” Anderson says. “We strive to make sure our customers get the proper discounts. They are all definitely theft deterrents.”

Check In With Your Agent

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, talk to your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent first. They will be able to help keep your vehicle safer and calculate which theft-deterrent features will save you the most money.

For more car-safety tips, find out how to get through fender benders here.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation.

© 2018 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance