Even though stealing a car isn’t as easy as it used to be these days, people are still up for giving it a go.
Protect your car from getting pinched by savvy thieves with these top tips.
Hide your keys and lock your car
Not to state the obvious or anything, but this will really help to not make it easy for car thieves who fancy their chances with your car. Once you’ve finished with your car and parked, activate all your car's security features. Doors and windows locked and fully up, alarms and parking brake on, and if you don’t have a theft alarm, a manual steering lock will do.
Most modern cars come with key fobs these days, which means thieves have upped their game too and can use devices to block the signal between your fob and your car, disrupting the locking command. So even when you think your car is locked, it might not be. Human touch is the one and actually checking that it's locked could be the key.
Following this, let's have a little game of hide and seek with your keys, don’t make a thief’s job easy. Leaving them near your door is asking for it many would say. Our top tip would be to use a metal box to hide your keys in. ‘Rey attacks’ are becoming increasingly common these days and criminals can use devices that make your car think that the key is in there when it isn’t. Who knew that such a simple thing like a metal box would block this signal.
Strip your car of any tempting valuables
Sounds daft, but we’re only human and we can forget sometimes to take any valuables out of our car. If this, is you, then the most important thing is that they’re not on show. We’re talking things like no handbags on seats, devices stuffed under jackets, anything that looks too obvious that it's been hidden, you get the picture.
And if you drive a van, then look lively. If you’ve got any tools or equipment that are of high value and could be something that thieves would love to get their hands on, a thorough insurance policy could be a good idea.
Documents are one to look out for too. If you keep any in the car, like in your glove box that has never managed to find their way back out, now might be the time to take them out. Keeping them safe and sound somewhere inside is the way forward.
Where you park matters
It seems mad to think that one of our most high-value possessions is left outside our house or on the streets every night. Sadly, this is what it's like for many of us these days unless we’re lucky enough to be able to leave it in the garage, but what choice do we have?
If there’s no alternative and someone wants to nab your car, they can do so in the quick of a flash. You could help to make your car less of a target though by making sure it's parked in a well-lit area or near other cars. If you notice any CCTV nearby too, this is always a good sign of security. If you have a driveway, use it, if you find yourself having to park down a back-alley, you might want to think about something a little more secure.
If your car doesn't have any of these bad boys, then you definitely might want to think about getting some. You'll be surprised at how reluctant thieves are to want to steal your car if they know your car can be recovered fairly quickly.
If you haven't got any of the following, insurers are the place to go as they offer discounts on these types of systems.
Many insurers offer discounts for the types of systems listed below.
- Ignition cut-off systems that prevent your car from starting
- Passive alarms that activate automatically when your key is removed from the ignition
- One system emits a signal that can be tracked by the police
What about your car insurance?
God forbid that your car was ever stolen, but if it was, then you’ll definitely want to check your insurance policy to see whether or not your protected.
The most basic policy is the third party, this is the lowest level of protection, and your insurance will only pay out if your car is hit by another. It doesn’t cover you from loss or damage, unfortunately.
If you want total protection, then the one you want is comprehensive. Funnily enough, turns out that this one is sometimes often cheaper than the lower levels of protection you can get. Should your car ever be broken into or stolen in, as long as it was locked, you should be fine.
What do the professionals think?
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your investment in your car is to reprogramme your keys. Gavin Hennessey from Global Telemetrics said that "if you buy a second-hand vehicle, there is a risk that you may not have been given every set of keys for the car. If you're unsure, it's worth getting the keys that you have reprogrammed so that the previous owners aren't able to access the vehicle." This stops them from being able to take the car back, have it stolen or even just enter your vehicle and take the contents.
If you've reprogrammed your keys or you're don't want to do that there are a few other things that you can do. Gavin over at SmarTrack many newer cars today have a keyless entry system which means that you can simply walk up to your car with your keys in your pocket and it will automatically unlock for you. While this system is great for ease of use and convenience, the key "emits a signal that can be hacked remotely to provide access to the vehicle and switch on the engine for a speedy exit in as little as 20 – 30 seconds. A Faraday Bag is a simple solution that protects your key when not in use. These small windowless bags isolates the signals from your key, meaning they cannot be connected to remotely, preventing remote hacking, remote wiping of data/evidence and remote surveillance."