6 ways to keep your car from being burglarized or stolen

Vehicle theft in Canada is a serious problem, and your car insurance policy is your primary defence against the financial burden of having your car stolen or burglarized. While a comprehensive vehicle insurance policy will protect you by replacing your vehicle if it is stolen or repairing the damage in the case of a break-in, it’s your home insurance policy that may actually cover the possessions within your vehicle. Be sure to protect your vehicle and your belongings by following these simple, preventative recommendations.

1. Don't leave valuables in your car

It may seem like common sense, but leaving valuables in your vehicle creates a prime opportunity for thieves to break in and help themselves. Many vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity and temptation. Avoid this by keeping valuables out of sight. Tucking a purse or wallet under the seat is never a good idea, as thieves may still have a clear view of the object. Thieves are motivated to find valuables — so it’s always best to carry these items with you. However, if you have a home insurance policy, you may be covered for the loss of stolen items from your vehicle.

If you have to leave items in your car, put them in your trunk or glove compartment where they are hidden and protected. But make sure to put your valuables away before 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 devices

Vehicle tracking devices can be used by the police to find your vehicle if 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 motor, 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 can earn you a discount on your auto insurance premium. Ask your insurance company about any discount that you might be entitled to.

3. Keep your car alarm on

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. Because of this, some people disconnect the battery that powers it. 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.

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. Use your emergency brake and turn your steering wheel sharply to avoid having your car towed by thieves. This isn't as common — but it’s still a reality you can try to avoid.

5. Lock up and hold on to your keys

Some people don't lock their vehicles. They may have a false sense of security in certain familiar areas (i.e. around their home), or simply forget from time to time. By leaving your car unlocked, you're abandoning the simplest and perhaps most effective theft deterrent you have. An open car is an invitation for thieves, and you can bet it will be chosen before a locked model. You should also never leave your keys in your vehicle — whether in the ignition, visor, on the console, 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 them can help you save on your premium.

Shopping for a comprehensive auto insurance policy can give you peace of mind against thieves, but there's no substitute for proactively protecting your vehicle and possessions. Be diligent and do your part to protect your vehicle from thieves as best you can to avoid making an auto insurance claim.

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