Taking Precautions Can Deter Auto Theft, Cut Insurance Costs
Within the past few months, four cars owned by friends of mine have been stolen. All were recovered substantially damaged. Two were totaled. One was riddled with bullet holes.
None of the cars was a luxury model—not all car thieves are looking for exotic vehicles for customers in Brazil.
Three of the cars were stolen at night in residential neighborhoods. One was taken during the day from a ride-share parking lot that belonged to a department store.
According to insurance industry data, one out of every 44 cars in America is stolen or broken into each year. A car is stolen every 24 seconds. A few more will disappear while you read this column.
The next time you receive a bill for your automobile insurance, be mindful of the contribution thieves make.
There are limited remedies for this problem. An auto alarm system can be installed in every car. It is no accident that these systems have been proved to deter automobile thefts. And in many cases, an alarm costs less then your comprehensive deductible—the amount you will be out-of-pocket if your car is stolen and damaged.
An alarm system also may qualify you for a premium reduction from your auto insurance company.
Other anti-theft devices are also available. And the basics always apply:
- Lock your car whenever you leave it, and when possible, park it in a secure place.
- At night, look for well-lighted areas.
- Do not leave tempting personal belongings exposed to the view of those outside your car.
We all should support legislation imposing appropriate penalties for those convicted of automobile theft. Collectively, these criminals cost Arizonans more than $65 million annually in insurance premiums, plus uncalculated out-of-pocket expenses and taxes for law enforcement. In addition, there are costs associated with the time it takes a victim to deal with auto theft.
If you see an apparent theft in progress, get a description of the car and the license plate number, if possible. Call the police immediately.
In the case of that car that was stolen from the ride-share lot, a witness called the police, but he could give only a vague description of the vehicle and no license plate number. By the time my friend returned, the thief was long gone. A quicker identification would have given a better chance of finding the car before damage could be done.