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Tips To Help Keep Your Vehicle
Safe From Thieves

By on July 13, 2018

TRENTON, N.J.—Summer is when Americans take their cars on family road trips. For auto thieves, it’s just time to take cars. The Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey is reminding drivers that while insurance may cover some losses from auto theft, the best plan is to prevent theft from happening at all.    

“The summer months are a busy time when it comes to auto theft in the United States,” says Lloyd ‘Rip’ Bush, CPIA, PIANJ president. “If your vehicle is stolen, your insurance policy may cover it, but you must have full coverage that includes comprehensive insurance. Without it, your best hope is that local law enforcement will be able to retrieve your vehicle.”

“Many insurers offer a discount on comprehensive coverage to policyholders whose cars are equipped with these devices,” says Bush. “While your comprehensive insurance will cover you in case your vehicle is stolen, one thing it will not do is cover your personal property. In these cases, your homeowners or renters insurance may cover the loss of items inside of the vehicle.”          

PIANJ suggests several ways to protect your vehicle and keep it safe from thieves:

  • Never leave your car running while unattended.
  • Always turn off the engine and roll your windows up even for short periods of time.
  • Never leave your keys in the car.
  • Lock your car and your garage. T-shaped lock knobs may be replaced by smooth ones that are more difficult for thieves to pull up.
  • Park in populated and well-lit areas, and keep valuables hidden.
  • Protect your audio system. Removable devices and discrete placement of audio-system speakers also may make your car less attractive to thieves.
  • Never leave your GPS or other devices on the dashboard.

Another important way to protect your vehicle is to use alarm systems and install anti-theft devices, such as ignition cut-off switches, fuel cut-off devices, steering wheel and hood locks.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, car theft is on the rise. The number of U.S. motor vehicle thefts rose 3.1 percent from 2014 to 2015, following a 1.9 percent drop in 2014 from 2013. The reasons they are stolen remain the same. Older vehicles are stolen primarily for their parts value while newer, high-end vehicles often are shipped overseas or, after some disguising, sold to an innocent buyer locally. Others, meanwhile, are still taken for the oldest of motivations—a “joyride” and when the thrill is gone, it is left abandoned.

And, certain vehicles are more likely to be stolen. PIANJ suggests you call your local professional, independent insurance agent to find out if the car you plan to purchase falls into the “more likely to get stolen” category to save on premiums.

PIANJ is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.