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Car Theft Protection

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Research Last Updated: 09/10/2011

Car theft is something that no one is safe from, but there are ways to protect yourself and decrease the odds of it happening.

An Empty Space from a Stolen Car

No one is safe from finding that empty parking spot where you car was until it was stolen.

You walk out of the store only to find that your vehicle is not where you parked it. In fact it is nowhere to be found. It has been stolen.

What do you do now?

First, call the police to report the car theft. Second, if you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle call your insurance company to report the theft. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, then you are left with just the first step and no vehicle.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage on your policy covers for all “other than collision” claims. These are claims to fix or replace your windshield, vehicle fires and also theft claims. Theft claims can be someone stealing something that was attached to your vehicle or up to the whole vehicle being taken.

If you find yourself missing part of or even your whole vehicle due to a theft, your comprehensive coverage is what will get back to where you were prior to the theft. This means that if your whole vehicle is stolen, the insurance company is going to pay the current value of your vehicle (minus deductible). They will not be buying you a new vehicle.

The insurance companies use a formula of what a value guide (usually the NADA Blue Book) states the value of your stolen vehicle to be at and also the sales prices of other similar vehicles in your area. Once they have these numbers calculated they contact you with an offer of what they are willing to pay for your vehicle.

Discounts, Alarms and Tracking Devices

Some new cars come with tracking devices such as On*Star which uses satellite technology to track down the location of your stolen vehicle. You would think by having a device like this you would qualify for an insurance discount, but most insurance companies don’t offer this.

Because the tracking device does not deter the theft from happening in the first place, insurance companies don’t see it as a measure to prevent a loss. Most insurance companies will waive your comprehensive deductible though if you have a theft loss and there was a tracking device in the vehicle.

A car alarm is considered a theft deterrent and not only discourages someone from stealing your vehicle, could also get you a discount on your comprehensive coverage.

Are any Vehicles Safer from Theft Than Others?

Yes, some vehicles act like magnets to car thieves and others they pass on by. If you are in the market for a new vehicle and theft is a concern for you below is a list of the vehicles to buy and not to buy.

Vehicles with the Lowest Theft Rates

  1. Audi A6 4WD
  2. Mercury Mariner (2009-10)
  3. Chevrolet Equinox (2010)
  4. Volkswagen CC (2009-10)
  5. Chevrolet Equinox 4WD (2010)
  6. Lexus RX 350 (2010)
  7. Saturn VUE
  8. Chevrolet Aveo (2009-10)
  9. BMW 5 series 4WD
  10. Mini Cooper Clubman

(2008-2010 analysis of insurance claims data from the Highway Loss Data Institute)

Vehicles with Highest Theft Rates

  1. Cadillac Escalade (4 versions)
  2. Ford F-250 crew 4WD
  3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew
  4. Ford F-450 crew 4WD
  5. GMC Sierra 1500 crew
  6. Chrysler 300
  7. Ford F-350 crew 4WD
  8. Chevrolet Avalanche 1500
  9. GMC Yukon
  10. Chrysler 300 HEMI

(2008-2010 analysis of insurance claims data from the Highway Loss Data Institute)

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Michele Wilmonen

Michele's first introduction to insurance was working for a major insurance company as a file clerk and a mailroom supervisor in a regional office. She learned insurance directly from underwriters and claims adjusters from questions and also watching them do their job. Since then, she's earned a number of insurance certifications from the Insurance Institute of America and also a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho. She blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook.

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