Progressive Insurance claims trainer Todd Golling suggests that a passive approach to prevention is not enough to protect your car and/or your belongings from being stolen. A former Virginia State Trooper, Golling explains that preventative measures can and should be taken to reduce your risk. Drivers should always remove valuable items from their parked cars, keep their cars locked, and carry along a blanket to hide bags from visibility during shopping trips. Cars bearing stickers that suggest the car has an alarm system (whether it does or not) can also be useful deterrents.
“Thieves are lazy,” Golling explains. “So if you do anything to make their job more difficult, they’ll move on to the next car.” Some drivers go so far as to install lockable gas caps, wheel-locking nuts, and engine immobilizers. Be careful not to leave any personal information in your vehicle that would provide a criminal with your address, and never leave spare keys to the car itself or to your home in the vehicle.
Practice extra caution when you know your car will be parked for an extended period of time; places like sports arenas, concert venues, churches, and hotel parking lots are highly susceptible to vehicle theft.
In terms of theft recovery, Progressive Insurance reported that in 2012 the U.S. average was 46% with some states doing a much better job than others. Washington’s recovery rate was an impressive 71% followed by Utah with 63% while Michigan and Pennsylvania had the worst recovery rates with 19% and 26%, respectively.
Progressive data demonstrates that summer months and weekends are the times during which the highest numbers of theft incidents occur. Being aware of where, when, and how long you are parking your car and taking the suggested preventative measures are simple ways to protect your car, your belongings, and your peace of mind.