These days, it’s rare to find a car that’s sold without a built-in alarm system. For many of us, seeing this addition on the price list is refreshing and comforting. It makes us feel like we’ll never have to worry about the safety of our vehicle or the possessions we leave inside it. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that in 2019, there were 231 car thefts per 100,000 people in Canada, and a single occasion of theft can set you back several thousand dollars.
There’s no single way to guarantee that your car won’t be stolen, but there are several things you can do to help prevent it from happening in the first place, and most of them won’t cost you a penny.
1. Take the time to double-check that doors are locked and windows are all the way up.
Most vehicles have automatic locking systems that can be engaged at the push of a button. However, if your car key batteries are low or your car has a unique locking mechanism, the locks may not engage when you want them to. That’s why it’s always worth a few extra seconds to check and make sure that all doors on your vehicle are locked.
Similarly, you should always inspect your car to make sure that your windows are completely up. If a thief can get an arm or a hand inside your car, they might be able to use that leverage to gain full access. Even if the windows are only open a small amount, they may be able to use a tool to trigger the door locks.
2. Don’t advertise your valuables. Put them away or cover them up.
Perhaps your car isn’t one of the models that are most frequently stolen, and you feel confident with that knowledge. However, even if thieves don’t want your vehicle, they might very well be after what you’ve got stored inside the car. If you have any mobile devices or a wallet in your vehicle, store them out of sight under the seat or in a locked glove box. If a thief doesn’t see anything worth their effort in your car, chances are good they’ll just keep on walking past.
If you do feel like taking a chance with your high-end smartphone on the passenger side seat, at least make sure that you’ve got good home insurance on your side. Car insurance actually won’t cover the personal belongings you leave inside that aren’t a permanent part of the car, but home insurance will.
3. Choose a safe place to park.
You’d be impressed at the difference location can make for the safety of your vehicle. Whenever possible, you should try to park your car somewhere safe and out of the way, like a monitored parking garage or a parking lot. If they aren’t available and street parking is the only option open, look for a place where plenty of pedestrians regularly pass by and where there may be a security camera aimed at the area.
The idea here is to make it as hard as possible for a potential thief to break into and drive away with your car. If plenty of outside observers and security cameras are around, a thief is less likely to decide that your car is the one they want to try and steal.
4. Think beyond a basic car alarm.
The alarm your car came with is a valuable tool, but it’s not foolproof. If a thief knows how to disarm it, it may not even provide much protection. That’s why it’s always a good idea to come up with some security safeguards in case your alarm doesn’t do the job on its own. You can find inexpensive locks for everything from your steering wheel to the nuts on your tires, and if a thief can’t easily and quickly make a getaway, they’re more likely to abandon the attempt.
5. Have backup from a comprehensive car insurance policy.
In the event that the worst does happen and your car is broken into or damaged as the result of attempted theft, you want to make sure you’ve got good, comprehensive car insurance on your side. Your insurance broker will be able to explain in better detail about your specific policy, but generally speaking, your automotive insurance will be able to provide coverage in most cases of theft or attempted theft. Instead of needing a year or more to recoup the costs, you can be back on the road before the summer’s done.