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How to Protect Your Car from Theft

If your car is stolen, you’ll probably be making a claim on your insurance. And when you make a claim, that’s when you’ll see your premium increase the next time you compare car insurance quotes.

To prevent that happening and, you know, avoid the headache of having your vehicle stolen, we’ve put together our top tips for car theft prevention. If your vehicle has already been stolen and you're unsure of what to do next, read our guide on what to do if your car is stolen.

In This Guide:

Car Theft Prevention 101: Hide Your Keys and Lock Your Car

We’ll start by going back to basics, simply because so many car thefts occur from easily avoidable situations.

Apart from old models, most cars come with key fobs that give the convenience of remotely locking your car. Yet theft technology is advanced and thieves can use devices to block the signal between your fob and the vehicle, intercepting the locking command. This means you may think your car is locked when in fact it’s not. Therefore, we recommend the human touch: always physically check the locks of your car.

Following this, hide your keys, else you’re just making the thief’s job too easy. And we don’t just mean not leaving them on the table in a café, or the car seat while you pop into the petrol station. Hide them in your home as well – criminals can easily hook keys through a letterbox and you’d be none the wiser.

You may also want to consider going one step further and keep them in a metal box. Recently, thefts have taken the form of ‘relay attacks’, in which criminals use clever devices that make the car think the key is there when, in fact, it isn’t; they can then steal your vehicle. A metal box effectively blocks the signal that allows this.

If you do misplace your keys, make sure you take the right steps by reading our guide on what to do if you lose your car keys.

Remove Tempting Items and Valuable Documents

Don’t leave any valuables in the car and, in particular, don’t keep them on show. That means no handbags on back seats or devices stuffed suspiciously under coats; even hiding sunglasses and sat-navs is advised. And if you drive a van, any tools or equipment are high value assets to thieves, so make sure you’ve got thorough insurance.

But critically, don’t leave any important documents in the car either. If you’ve got any bank or health records which never found their way out of the glove box, thieves could use these to steal your identity. Similarly, if your address appears on any documents, your house could be targeted instead. Not keeping the vehicle handbook in the car but rather in a safe, separate place will likewise make it easier for the police to track and recover your vehicle in the event it is stolen.

Where You Park Matters

Where your car is parked has a huge impact on its susceptibility to theft. When you’re out and about, be sure to always park in well-lit, public spaces near other vehicles or where there is CCTV monitoring and security staff.

Yet you should extend these precautions to where you regularly park – i.e. near where you live – too, as this plays a big role in the premiums you pay. The best car insurance deals take into consideration those who park securely. If you have a driveway, use it. If your residential parking is down a back-alley, then consider renting a secured, monitored parking space nearby instead.  

For more advice, check out our guide on where to park your car overnight.

Install Deterrents and Trackers to Increase Car Security

At the budget-friendly end of the scale, opting for visible deterrents is a cheap and effective way of helping prevent your car being stolen. Installing strong locks for your wheel, gearbox or pedals screams to criminals “I really wouldn’t bother, if I were you”. Because these deterrents are obvious, a thief will likely move on to another vehicle that’s less hassle.

But if you’re looking for sleeker anti-theft devices, there are more subtle things you can do to improve car security. One option is to etch your number plate into the windows and other parts of the car, or you could put very subtle identifiable markings across it. Car immobilisers and alarms can also help prevent your vehicle from being stolen.

You could also install a tracking device, whereby a transmitter is hidden in the vehicle. While these are more expensive methods that may not prevent theft in the first instance, you can be safe in the knowledge your car will be easily recovered should it be stolen. 

Will improving my car security help get cheap car insurance?

If incidents of car theft were reduced overall, we could see insurance premiums go down. If you’re already hot on your car theft prevention methods, you may be unaware of the cheap car insurance deals on offer to those who have high levels of car security.

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