There is not much that makes your stomach sink like the feeling you get when you walk up to your parked car and realize that it was broken into. We know, we have had it happen. Sometimes it is when you are parked in a public place – scary!!! Sometimes at your home, even in your driveway – super scary!!! Either way it is definitely an experience that no one wants to have. And while there is nothing that any of us can do to totally prevent this from happening, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself, your car, and its contents from break-ins.
Insurance Policies are Important
Did you know that in most cases your car insurance will not cover the loss of your personal items that were stolen if someone breaks into your car? This is usually a shocker to people and they only find out when they are trying to report a claim. It is also something that most auto insurance companies do not necessarily spell out when they are giving quotes. Usually you need a separate rider, or your renters or homeowners insurance, to cover contents of vehicles.
Quote Wizard by Lending Tree has this nugget of wisdom on the topic:
Car break-ins are the most common crime in America…comprehensive coverage contrary to its name, doesn’t cover loose belongings inside the car. When you need to replace cell phones, tablets, iPods, laptop computers, purses and wallets, work tools, and any other items stolen, your homeowners or renters insurance provide that coverage. This means you’ll need to file two separate claims to be reimbursed for all the damages.
They list out the coverages:
Car Insurance [covers]
- Shattered Windows
- Broken Locks
- Stolen Stereo (Stock), GPS (Stock)
- Tampered Ignition
- Cosmetic Damage (Paint, Locks, Carpet)
- Broken Glove Box
- Aftermarket Stereos, GPS System, Custom Wheels
Renters/Home Insurance [covers]
- CDs, DVDs
- Laptop Computer
- Sports Equipment
- iPod, iPad, iPhone, or other cell phone
- Clothes, Expensive Sunglasses, Jewelry
- Work Tools
- Purse or Wallet
- Video Systems (Stock)
Making sure that you have renters or homeowners insurance that will cover your losses is a really important part of protecting yourself against the loss of a car break in.
If you drive a late model car or truck, chances are that it was designed with theft protection. There are plenty of after-market devices that can enhance the security to help prevent and deter break-ins. CarBibles reminds us that, when a car is stolen or broken into, the thief is looking to sell the car or the items taken from the car on the black market. They look for items that will be in high demand and are easy to access. The tech world pays attention to this and has developed a whole line of automotive tech to help you, as the car owner, and protect your possessions. Some of the best of these, as noted by The Drive, include devices that fall into the following three categories:
- Wheel lock anti-theft devices are the most common. They easily attach to the steering wheel of the car to keep it from turning. These anti-theft tools can be extended to fit most steering wheels. They come with keys that allow them to be unlocked with ease.
- Brake locks attach to the brake or clutch pedal. This prevents either pedal from being depressed. These car anti-theft devices also lock in place and come with keys so you can unlock them quickly.
- Tire locks clamp onto the tires, preventing them from spinning. They are typically made of heavy-duty steel and are easy to fit over tires, depending on what size device you get. Tire locks are more durable and are often used for vehicles that will be in one place for long periods of time.
Beyond devices and insurance, there are also behavioral steps that you can take to help protect yourself against car break-ins.
Parking To Prevent Break-Ins
This is a topic that has a lot of special interests weighing in. You know when the police and the insurance companies agree on something, the advice being levied makes sense. While some of the things you can do to prevent break-ins have to do with how you keep your car (clean and locked with your personal effects put out of sight), much of this has to do directly with how and where you park your car.
As noted by one police department, “Park in a busy, well-lit area and avoid concealment from larger vehicles, fences, or foliage. Avoid parking in isolated and poorly-lit areas.” (Source). This applies to how you park even at your house, as another police department points out.
When parking at home, if possible, park in the garage or close to the house. The outside area should be well lit or have a motion light upon approach to the cars. Lock all doors and windows and remove valuables. It is also a good idea when parking at home to remove all keys and garage door openers from the car to prevent access to your home. When parking in public, if possible, park in well-lit highly visible areas. During holidays or retail shopping days, lock packages and purchased items in the trunk. If you are going to continue shopping, you could move your car to a different location in case a thief has been watching the area. If you’re making even a quick trip to the gym, to get coffee, local store, or the gas station all valuables should be secured in the trunk or removed from the car. If you’re only going to be somewhere for a short period and those items aren’t necessary LEAVE THEM AT HOME.