How to Protect Your Car from the Grinch
As the temperature drops and we get closer and closer to Christmas, opportunistic thieves start to take advantage of the holiday season. Thieves’ ideal targets are people leaving their keys in the ignition to let their cars warm up or holiday shoppers leaving their newly purchased gifts in their back seat. We all know that the Grinch needed only a tiny window of opportunity to steal Christmas, and a thief only needs a moment to steal your vehicle or its contents.
If you have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, your insurance policy helps protect your car against theft losses by lowering your regular $700 deductible. However, it’s always better if your vehicle isn’t stolen in the first place. Auto theft continues to rise in Canada, and today’s cars and trucks are even more attractive to thieves because the value of many parts is increasing.
Even if you live and work in a safe area, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of theft and damage:
Carry your keys wherever you go.
Avoid leaving them in the ignition, even if you leave for only a few seconds.
Lock your vehicle and set the alarm.
In the past, it was common for some people to leave cars unlocked, particularly in rural areas. It only takes a moment to secure your vehicle.
Don’t leave your vehicle running unattended.
It’s easy to become distracted, and it only takes a moment for someone else to drive away with your car.
Close windows and sunroof.
Don’t leave a temptation. A partially cracked window can provide a way to enter your vehicle using a bar or lever.
Keep valuables locked inside the trunk and out of sight.
Bring your stuff inside with you or store them somewhere safe. During the holiday season, vehicle break-ins increase because thieves are looking for holiday gifts left unattended. Theft from vehicles is a growing problem. The cost to repair a dented door and broken window can be significant, and if your property is stolen, it can lead to a second insurance claim against your home insurance policy.
Park in well-lit, busy areas near surveillance cameras.
Even though parking lots can be chaotic during the holiday season, try to avoid parking in secluded places, as these are ideal spots for thieves waiting for your vehicle to be unattended.
You might be surprised to learn which vehicles are most often stolen. In many cases, it’s older cars that are most at risk. In 2014, the most frequently stolen vehicle was a model from 1996, followed by a 1998 vehicle. The attraction with older vehicles is often the parts. As vehicles age, the parts are often worth significantly more than the car’s total value.
Many older models also lack the same security features that are now more common in newer vehicles. This can make older cars more attractive targets.
How would your insurance respond in the event of a claim?
Damage to Auto due to Theft or Attempted Theft
If someone damages your vehicle due to attempted theft or break-in, you could be responsible for paying your deductible. With only plate insurance on your car, your deductible would be $700. With an auto insurance policy on your vehicle, you can choose a deductible as low as $50.
If someone steals belongings from your vehicle, your auto insurance does not cover your contents and stuff left there. Auto insurance only covers loss or damage to the physical vehicle. So if someone steals all the Christmas presents from your car, you must claim them on your renters, condo, or home insurance. Depending on your insurer, you may have to pay two deductibles: one for the auto claim and the other for the contents on the home policy.
If your entire vehicle is stolen and you only have plate insurance on your car, you will have to pay your $700 deductible if they cannot identify the person responsible for the crime. But your deductible might be waived if you have an auto insurance policy on the stolen vehicle!
By staying vigilant and taking simple precautions, you can help ensure your car and possessions remain safe from anyone whose Grinchy heart is two sizes too small. Whether your vehicle is new or well-travelled, take preventative steps to make your vehicle more secure. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you have questions about your vehicle’s security or general auto insurance, talk to your insurance broker to learn about the options available.
Are you interested in getting an online quote for an Auto Pak to protect your vehicle better?