Since the months of July and August are the worst months for vehicle thefts, AutoGuide has assembled a list of tips that, if followed, may help you keep your car.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a vehicle is stolen in the U.S. every 44 seconds. In the spirit of National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, here’s some advice to avoid becoming part of that statistic:
- As simple as it sounds, always take your key with you and don’t leave it in your vehicle. With more than 40 percent of motor vehicle theft incidents caused by mistakes by owners, you’ll be surprised how some have made it easy for the thieves.
- Once you park your vehicle, always make sure all your windows are closed and that your vehicle is locked before going to your destination.
- If possible, always park in well-lit areas and at home, keep your vehicle in your garage if you have one.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen. It’s just an extra incentive to be targeted by a vehicle thief.
- Never leave the area of your car while it is running – a practiced car thief can be gone in seconds.
- Protect your vehicle with an anti-theft or immobilizer device. Most dealerships offer car alarms with the purchase of your vehicle, and it’s a small investment towards protecting your larger one.
If your vehicle is stolen, you’ll want to act quickly to increase the odds of it being recovered. NHTSA reports that only 52 percent of stolen vehicles are recovered, so here are some tips to help get your vehicle back:
- Contact the police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report. Have your license plate number, year, make, and model of the vehicle, color, VIN number and any identifying characteristics ready for the authorities.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim, ideally within 24 hours of realizing that your car has been stolen.
- If you happen to find your vehicle before the authorities do, contact the police and insurance company immediately.