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Car Insurance -Auto Thefts on the Rise – Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim

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Car thefts are on the rise as thieves become more skilled and daring. Last year in the United States, vehicle thefts jumped by 9% to 873,000—the highest in over a decade, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent your car from being stolen.

Since 2013, thefts due to owner carelessness have increased by 88%. Each day, 209 cars are stolen because the keys or key fobs were left inside, or the car was left unlocked with the engine running. Most car thefts take less than five minutes, so it’s crucial to stay alert and protect your vehicle.

Both high-end and common vehicles are targeted, including SUVs, pickups, hybrids, and cars with key fobs. Stolen vehicles are often resold, dismantled for parts, or shipped overseas. Catalytic converters are also a popular target, costing $3,000 or more to replace and can be stolen in under a minute.

Here are some simple tips to keep your car safe:

  • Always lock your vehicle, even at home.
  • Park in a garage if you have one, and lock the garage.
  • When unloading groceries or other items, turn off the engine and take the keys, locking the car between trips.
  • Keep your car locked while you’re inside it.
  • Never leave keys or valuables, including the vehicle title, in the car. If you must leave something valuable, hide it out of sight, preferably in the trunk.
  • Avoid parking in high-crime areas. Use secure parking garages with valet services and real-time video surveillance, or park on well-lit, busy streets.
  • Use your car’s app and anti-theft features, such as steering locks, alarms, ignition cut-off systems, and advanced tracking systems. These can alert you if you accidentally leave your car unlocked.
  • Consider installing an anti-theft device on your catalytic converter.
  • Check your insurance policy or talk to your agent about discounts for anti-theft systems and coverage details.
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