Great Savings Tip #71 – Avoid Car Theft

Take steps to protect your vehicle from thieves.

 

This post is part of our Great Savings Tip series, designed to help you find ways to spend less and save more. For more ideas see our Great Savings Tips page with a complete list of all our tips. Here is today’s tip you can put to work immediately:

The Statistics Are Appalling

Tip #71) Be proactive against car theft. The statistics for car theft are appalling.  Though the theft rate was down for the year, according to the FBI, “There were an estimated 794,616 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide in 2009.”  In addition, the FBI reported that nearly $5.2 billion was lost on account of motor vehicle thefts.”

Lock your car and take your keys.

A stolen car is a huge expense and inconvenience.

The Costs

Even if you drive a relatively old model, a car theft is no laughing matter,. Victims of auto theft may (1) Suffer from a sense of feeling personally violated.  (2) Suffer significant inconvenience and expense to arrange for alternative transportation.  (3) Have to come up with deductibles for repair of a recovered vehicle. (4) Have to shell out extra hundreds or thousands of dollars if their insurance policy doesn’t provide enough money to replace an unrecoverable vehicle.  (5) Need to worry about identify theft if wallets or other items containing personal information are left in the vehicle.  (6) Need to replace personal property that was inside the stolen vehicle.  Bottom line: A car theft can deliver a serious blow to your financial health, not to mention your peace of mind.

Take These Steps

What can you do to protect against car theft?  Unfortunately, car thieves are now so sophisticated they can often enter and steal a vehicle in a matter of a few seconds or minutes.  However, there are several steps you can take which may make your car less of a target:

1) Never leave your keys in an unoccupied vehicle, even for a few seconds.  Car thieves have been known to steal cars warming up in cold climates or cars outside of convenience stores where owners were just going to zip in and out of a store for an item.

2) Roll your windows up and lock your car every time you leave it.  Every step you take to make it harder for a thief will help deter theft.

3) When buying a new car be sure to invest in anti-theft options like car alarms.  Or, if you can afford it, consider installing an after-market alarm.  Though false alarms are noisy, thieves abhor drawing attention to themselves.  They’ll look for signs a car is monitored by anti-theft devices and will often move on if they spot them.

4) Consider buying a “Club” for your car.  This simple to use anti-theft device costs about $35 bucks new and is available at Amazon.com, local auto parts stores and major retailers.  Though a determined thief can cut through the metal on a Club, having one on your steering wheel is often enough incentive to move on and select an easier target.

5) When parking in a public place, try to find a parking spot close to light or where there is more foot traffic.  Also, avoid dark out of the way spots where thieves will have an easier time avoiding notice.

6) Remove personal items from your car when you leave it.  Wallets, purses, backpacks, cell phones, laptops and even old mail may all contain many important details of your personal life—details you don’t want to share.  Protect these items and your identity by taking them with you whenever you leave the car.

There are hundreds of thousands of stolen vehicles on the road.

Don't be part of the statistics. Be proactive.

Though determined thieves can steal just about any car, most will pick the easier targets first.  Don’t make their job any easier.  Take the steps outlined above.  Be proactive against car theft.

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By Bob Anderson
© 2011 Javabird LLC. All rights reserved.

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For the complete list of all our Great Savings Tips click here.

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