By Catherine Powell
|Image courtesy Pixabay|
With the average price of a new car being $48,558 and the average price of a used car running at $20,000 at $25,000, you'd think people would take care where, when, and how they park their rides. But you'd probably be surprised to find out that many motorists neglect to secure their vehicles properly. This resulted in 45,973 vehicle thefts in Florida alone in 2022. That doesn't account for items stolen from or damage done to unattended vehicles. More shocking still is the fact that many of the thefts could have easily been prevented if their owners had practiced a few simple security measures. To keep you from being one of the thousands of owners who file police reports due to break ins, vandalism, or theft of their wheels, I've come up with ten tips to help you secure your ride.
#1: Don't leave your windows cracked open. - I realize that cars get hot if left in the sun, especially in the summer months. But cracking your windows to let the heat out could be an invitation for thieves to break in. That's because it's all too easy for a thief to thread a tool through the crack to unlock your door. Then the thief can rifle through your glove compartment and backseat before popping the trunk to see what valuables you have there. Don't believe me? Go to YouTube and key in: Easy Ways to Get Into Your Car When Locked Out.
#2: Don't leave your car idling when you aren't in it. - This one sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at how many people have their car stolen right out of their driveway because they wanted to let their vehicle either cool down or heat up before they hopped in it. Even if you take the time to lock your car while it's idling, as I pointed out in the previous tip, it's all too easy for a thief to break into it.
#3: Is your vehicle an all-you-can-eat buffet for thieves? - It is if you leave valuables in plain sight inside your ride. All a thief has to do is break a window and grab your goods in seconds flat. Always store valuables in the locked trunk or cover them with a blanket or towel so they aren't visible to passersby.
|Image courtesy Pixabay|
#4: What's in your garage? - Do you park your car in your garage, or is your garage being used as a store room for sporting goods, landscaping equipment and miscellaneous junk? Since no other piece of equipment you own probably comes with a 5-figure price tag, you may wish to consider erecting a garden shed or renting storage space so you can park your car overnight in the garage where it belongs. Thieves love the dead of night to steal anything in or on an unattended vehicle, including catalytic converters.
#5: Does your vehicle have keyless entry? - If it does you should know that all a thief needs is a cheap wireless receiver and transmitter to spoof your car into thinking you're there. Even once you come home, thieves can intercept and replicate the signal your key fob emits to gain entry or even start your vehicle. Unless you want to put the fob in a metal lockbox or the fridge while you sleep, you should consider adding a wheel lock or pedal locks if you park your ride outside. While it won't stop a thief from rifling your vehicle, it will prevent them from driving off in it.
#6: Will a spare key help thieves more than it helps you? - Some drivers insist on hiding a spare key in their vehicle to help them get in should they misplace their key. The problem is, thieves have learned where to look for such hidden caches. Better to leave a spare key with a trusted friend or neighbor than leave one lying around for crooks to find.
#7: Choose your parking spots carefully. - Thieves look for cars parked away from other vehicles, especially since owners of new or expensive vehicles tend to park them away from the herd so they don't get dinged by doors. If you routinely park in the boonies, you need to ask yourself which is more expensive, having a ding repaired or coming back to find your ride is gone?
#8: Can your vehicle call for help if it's broken into? - It can if it's equipped with an automotive alarm system. If your vehicle doesn't come equipped with one, it isn't all that expensive to get an aftermarket alarm installed. This way if a thief pops a door or breaks a window, your car will make a mighty racket that should scare the thief or alert you to a theft in progress.
|Image courtesy Pxhere|
#9: Better dead than fled. - Another aftermarket device that's cheap to install is a kill switch that makes it impossible for a thief to start the engine. Some immobilization systems even work with smart keys to keep thieves from popping vehicle doors by using a remote transmitter.
#10: Dude, where's my car? - If you own or lease a vehicle that's has a high probability of being stolen, or if you just value your peace of mind, you should consider installing a tracking system that can help you locate your ride if it gets stolen. There are apps available that allow owners to track their vehicles in real time. This way if your ride is stolen, you can let the police know where to find it fast.
Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida. To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com/