Avoid This Common Action to Dodge Car Thieves

Did you know that 810,000 vehicles were stolen in 2020? That’s over $7 billion worth of cars taken from their owners each year. And the pandemic has only made it worse.

When the COVID pandemic started, vehicle theft increased by over 11%, meaning an additional 80,000 vehicles were stolen from their owners from 2019 to 2020.
One common action is to blame for many stolen vehicles. You may have even done it before. Read on to find out what you should stop doing to protect your vehicle from thieves.

What is “Puffing”?

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), “puffing” is a term used to describe running cars left unattended. The puffs of steam released from the exhaust indicate the vehicle is running, which makes it easy for thieves to locate cars to steal.

As the weather turns colder, more people are starting their cars to warm up while they wait inside their homes. The action seems innocent enough, but it can lead to frustration and anger, and cost you a great deal of money if you aren’t careful.

Against the Law

While stealing a car is against the law, many states have made it illegal to leave a vehicle running unattended. The idea is to stop making vehicles easy targets for thieves.

Unfortunately, if you leave your running vehicle unlocked and unattended and it is stolen, your insurance may not cover the cost of the stolen car. Some insurance companies reject stolen vehicle claims when the car owner leaves the keys in an unlocked car with the vehicle running.

The NICB recommends vehicle owners check with their insurance agents to make sure they have adequate auto coverage and determine what is and isn’t covered.

The great news is that technology now allows drivers to start their vehicles remotely and keep the doors locked. Many newer vehicles include this feature straight from the manufacturers. If you have an older vehicle, you may be able to have a remote starter installed.

Locking your car while it is running is one way to keep your vehicle safe. Let’s examine more ways to avoid being targeted by thieves.

Hide Your Valuables

Keep valuables hidden from thieves, which may deter them from stealing your car. This can be a terrific way to get criminals to move on quickly.

When you’re parking your car anywhere, make sure to keep anything of value tucked into the center console or glove box. Better yet, keep expensive items locked away in your trunk where criminals won’t see them. This will keep the chances of theft low.

Remember Your Keys

Know where your keys are at all times when driving or parking. If you forget them while shopping and leave them on your seat, you’re inviting trouble. Many thieves know how to unlock windows, and some will break windows to get to your keys.

Once the thief obtains your keys, say goodbye to your car. This also goes for vehicles parked in your driveway. Always make sure you take your keys with you.

Lock Your Doors

This tip should be fairly obvious, but people still forget this crucial safety measure. Always lock your doors when parking your car, even in your driveway. If you live in a suburban or urban area, unlocked cars are easy prey for criminals.

Also, keep your garage door opener out of sight or take it inside with you. If a criminal breaks into your vehicle and steals the garage door opener, they then have access to your house where they can steal even more items.

Watch Where You Park

A safe driver always pays attention to where he’s parking. As a general rule, you’ll want to avoid parking on dark streets that aren’t busy with people. A thief can easily work to steal your car on a secluded street, but he may not get away if there are people around.

Stay Safe with DriveSafe Online

Whether you’re driving on the road or parked in your driveway, it’s important to follow rules and guidelines to stay safe.

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