Vehicle theft in Canada is a serious problem, and your car insurance policy is your primary defense against the financial burdens that result from having your car stolen or burglarized. Your comprehensive vehicle insurance will protect you by replacing your vehicle if it is stolen, or repairing the damages in the case of a break-in. Your home insurance policy will cover the possessions in your vehicle. Make sure you protect yourself and your vehicle by following these simple recommendations:
1. Don’t Leave Valuables in Your Car
It may seem like common sense, but leaving valuables in your vehicle is a prime opportunity for thieves to break in and help themselves. Many auto vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity and temptation. Thieves can see your possessions in the vehicle, and decide to help themselves. Avoid this by keeping valuables out of sight. Tucking a purse or wallet under the seat is never a good idea, as thieves might see a strap or a corner from an angle you might not have considered. Thieves are motivated to find valuables – so carry these items with you instead of leaving them where they can be taken.
If you have to leave items in your car, put them in your trunk, where they are hidden and therefore more protected. But, an additional caution: Don’t put your valuables in the trunk when you arrive at your destination. Thieves may see you deposit your items in the trunk before leaving your car unattended, and know exactly where to look for your purse or laptop.
2. Consider Vehicle Tracking or Immobilization
Vehicle tracking devices can be used by the police to find your vehicle when it has been stolen. Certain vehicle manufacturers include this as a standard security device on every vehicle, and in other cases, you can have it added as an option from the factory or installed aftermarket.
Immobilizers interrupt three circuits that are required to start and operate your vehicle, including the starter, ignition and fuel supply systems when your car is turned off. These circuits can only be reactivated by a specially coded microchip in the key issued to you when you purchase your car.
If you are looking for cheap car insurance, immobilizers and tracking devices that meet the National Standard of Canada can earn you a discount on your auto insurance premiums. Ask your insurance company about any discount that you might be entitled to.
3. Set the Alarm
Alarm systems are often ignored in parking lots, because they get set off accidentally so often that people are indifferent to the noise and flashing lights. However, staying in tune with your car alarm and listening for it, especially when your car is parked nearby, might allow you to stop a theft in progress.
4. Park Smart
Park your car in well lit and heavily trafficked areas whenever you can. Thieves are less likely to strike in an area where they could be discovered before they’ve finished. Always use your emergency brake and turn your steering wheel sharply to avoid having your car towed by thieves. This isn’t as common – but still a probability that you can try to avoid.
5. Lock Up and Hold on to Your Keys
It may seem like common sense, but a number of people don’t lock their vehicles. They may have a false sense of security in certain comfortable areas, (i.e. around their home), or simply forget from time to time. By leaving your car unlocked, you’re surrendering the simplest and perhaps most effective theft deterrent you have. An open car is an invitation for thieves, and you can bet that it will be chosen before a locked model. On the same note, never leave your keys in your vehicle – whether in the ignition, console, visor or under the floor mat – thieves know where to look. Don’t help them by making your vehicle an easy target.
6. Investigate Before You Buy
Before you purchase a new or used vehicle, do your research. Check with your insurance provider as to how frequently the vehicle you’re looking at is stolen or broken into. Certain makes and models are favourites for thieves, and being aware of that can save you on your premiums, and save you the heartache of purchasing a car with a high probability of being stolen.
Your insurance policy can help to give you peace of mind against thieves, but there’s no substitute for taking every precaution you can to protect your vehicle and your possessions along with it. Though your insurance provider can try to make you whole again in the event that you’re a victim of theft, there’s no compensation for the stress or worry that is caused when your vehicle or possessions go missing and you have to make a claim. Be diligent and do your part to protect your vehicle from thieves as best you can.