4 Tips for Auto-Theft Prevention

According to the most recent FBI statistics, car thefts cost Americans an estimated $6 billion a year. Each victim loses an average of more than $7,700 per incident. And despite the fact that auto thefts have been trending down for the past two decades, new tactics like stealing smart keys and removing vehicle identification numbers reinforce the reality that this problem is not going away.

“Fortunately, there are a lot of common sense things people can do to minimize their risks,” says Penny Glass, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Austin.

4 Ways to Protect Your Vehicle

1. Consider safety measures: For starters, be aware of your surroundings and park in well-lit areas when possible. If you must leave valuables in your car, put them in the trunk or try to make them less visible.

2. Lock it down: Make sure to take your keys with you when you leave your vehicle. Leaving them in the car could not only attract criminals but also prevent your insurance policy from paying out a claim, since you technically assisted in the theft of your vehicle.

3. Sound the alarm: Services like OnStar and LoJack can deter would-be thieves, since these products use GPS to track the car and disable it if a key fob is not in the vehicle. Car alarms can also help deter criminals in certain situations.

4. Take cover: Unfortunately, even the most safety-conscious driver can fall victim to crime. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have the right insurance policies in place to cover your needs.

“A lot of people don’t realize that theft of personal property is not covered by your auto policy,” Glass says. “You want to make sure that you have a renters or property insurance policy that can be applied.”

A standard comprehensive auto insurance policy will cover your vehicle should it be stolen or damaged by theft. However, it’s important to remember that coverage only extends to features on the car when the policy was written. Aftermarket additions like expensive wheels, fancy stereos, or other nonstandard extras will not necessarily be covered.

“Those things can be covered, but they need to have underwriter approval, and there likely will be a surcharge,” Glass says.

What to Do in the Event of a Theft

If you are ever the victim of a car theft or burglary, the first thing to do is contact the local police department, who will determine the next course of action. While they may simply file a report, it is still important to complete this step.

After the police have been notified, contact your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent, who will expedite your repair process. If the damage incurred is minimal, they may even be able to send a glass repairperson or other contractor out to your location. No matter the situation, they will do what it takes to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2019 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance