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Auto Insurance: How to Avoid Car Thieves

By Compuquotes Team on May 9th, 2008

Auto Insurance

About twice every minute, a car thief slips into someone's prize automobile and drives away with it. For far too many of those car owners, insurance will not cover the full cost of replacing their car - or all the incidentals that cost them money while they wait for the insurance company to make a decision. Theft insurance is expensive, especially if you own a car that is considered 'desirable' by thieves, and it may not cover you in full for your losses if your car is stolen. Luckily, there are ways that you can protect your car from thieves - and some of them may even convince your insurer to knock a bit off your annual premiums.

Don't think you're protected because your new car has a factory-installed theft protection. Your insurance company knows that factory-installed theft protection isn't necessarily the best, too. Opt for a professionally installed after-market auto anti-theft system to deter thieves, and let your insurer know that you've had it installed. Thieves well have a far harder time stealing your car, and your insurer is likely to lower your premiums to reflect that additional layer of protection.

Don't neglect protection for your old clunker. Just because you don't drive a shiny new BMW doesn't mean your car is safe. In fact, older vehicles are often stolen for parts, which may be impossible to get because they're no longer manufactured. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau in the U.S., the five model years most stolen in 2005 were 1991, 1995, 1989, 1994 and 1997. Moral of the story? Take the precautions you need to protect your older model car.

Contact the police as soon as you find your car stolen. The sooner you report it stolen, the better the chances are of recovery. Call from the scene of the crime if at all possible, and wait there for the police. You should be able to tell the police the make, color and model of your car, as well as the plate number and the vehicle identification number. Keep a slip of paper with that information in your wallet, and keep copies of your registration and insurance card at home so you can easily supply that information to police and insurance agents.

Opt for rental coverage when you take out your policy. Many people don't bother, but it's relatively inexpensive. Usually, a year's worth of rental replacement cover costs less than renting a car for a few days, so it's an excellent deal. If your car is stolen, chances are good that you'll need to rent a car or find alternate transportation for a few days at least. If you're not sure you have rental cover, check your policy and make note of any restrictions. In many cases, for instance, there is a waiting period before you can claim for rental expenses.

Pay for roadside assistance as well, and understand the details of your coverage. You can buy through your insurer, through an outside company or through your auto maker. If your car is disabled after being broken into, for instance, roadside assistance can provide a tow to a mechanic, or even pay for service to make it drivable on the spot.

Take simple precautions. All the sophisticated anti-theft equipment in the world won't protect your car if you forget to lock your car, leave it running you pay for your gas, or leave your keys in the ignition. Some other things you can do to cut down on the risk of theft include parking in a well-lit area, and parking in the middle of the lot rather than near an exit.

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