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Don't get steamed up about car theft.

By Ryan Hurlbert on November 29th, 2010

Winter is coming. Remember all the fun you had last year, scraping ice off of your windows every morning? How about the way the icy leather seats stole your breath away for the first five minutes of your commute? Who knew a steering wheel could get so cold it hurt to hold on to!

You may have thought that it would be so much easier to simply start your car and let it warm up in the driveway while you finished your coffee in the comfort of your kitchen. Look down your street on any given cold morning, and you can see steam rising from the tailpipes of your neighbor's cars… lucky devils, they don't have to fight the arctic blast like you do!

However, this is the very reason that car thieves love this time of year. They cruise through neighborhoods, looking for "steamers" advertising "the keys are in it and the owner is not." Talk about easy pickings!

Warm up your car without the risk of theft

The solution is to simply not leave your car running while you are not in it. Leaving a running vehicle unattended is against the law in many communities, and an expensive citation could result.

If you simply must warm your car before you get in it, have a high-quality remote starter installed. These devices will start your car, but will automatically shut it off if the doors are opened, or the brake pedal is depressed. Many can be set to run for a specified time period, like five minutes, and then they shut off.

What if your car is stolen anyways?

If your vehicle is stolen, call the police and file a report, then call your insurance company and file a claim under your comprehensive coverage. Then you wait. Your car has to go unrecovered for 30 days before it is considered "unrecoverable" and your claim is settled. If it is recovered within 30 days, it will be repaired or totaled depending on the condition it is recovered in.

Don't have comprehensive auto insurance? Well, now is the time to decide if you want coverage for theft. Check with your agent, or get quotes from other companies and see how affordably you can add this protection to your auto insurance policy.

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