This July, the NHTSA is launching its annual campaign and claiming it the “Vehicle Theft Prevention Month” nationwide. Vehicle theft is a crime that is very expensive and according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), every 24 seconds a vehicle theft occurs in the U.S.
Today, car thieves are more sophisticated than ever and in many cases are linked with huge international crime rings that steal vehicles and smuggle them outside the U.S. to sell or strip and sell the parts. This crime is no longer considered a teenage “joyriding” theft. And although modern cars today have anti-theft features to make it harder for thieves to steal, criminals are becoming more sophisticated than ever in their methods.
Just as practicing preventative measures is important, so is preparing to handle a situation of your car being stolen. And, in too many cases, vehicle thefts occur due to vehicle owners being unprepared and having misconceptions about car theft. It’s these misconceptions that can make a vehicle owner become a victim of car theft.
These car theft misconceptions include:
- Thinking their state’s vehicle theft rate is the lowest in the country.
- Thinking car thieves wouldn’t want to steal their old car.
- Thinking car thieves wouldn’t steal their vehicle if it’s park out front their home.
- Thinking that the majority of vehicle thefts happen in parking lots or at the mall.
- Thinking anti-theft devices won’t deter thieves since if they want it bad enough, they’ll take it.
- Thinking that thieves can’t steal cars with high-tech keys.
It’s important that you contact police right away if you notice your car has been stolen. The quicker you are in reporting the theft, the easier it is to recover your car. You are helping the thieves get away if you delay reporting the theft. You can typically report the theft over the phone. You will likely need the color, make and model of your vehicle along with the Vehicle Identification Number and (VIN) license plate number.
It’s also a good idea to go over your insurance policy with your independent insurance agent on an annual basis. You don’t want to have your car stolen only to find out it’s not covered or you don’t have enough coverage. You should review your policy each year and take into account how much coverage you have, how much you will need and other types of coverage like rental reimbursement and roadside assistance.