Car insurance does not only protect against vehicle damage, but also against vehicle loss from theft, hijackings etc. We have earlier in this Blog referred to the South African crime statistics and how they impact on the car insurance industry.
We would like to provide our visitors not only with advice on getting the best insurance, but also share suggestions on how to reduce the risk of vehicle loss and damage. In the next few blog posts we will investigate and discuss how we can protect ourselves from car/ vehicle theft.
Vehicle owners fear the loss of vehicles through violent means such as hijacking, yet in many cases of vehicle theft is no violence to be found.
Much of car crime is simply the result of driver carelessness. In the UK it has been found that a significant increase in theft claims have been from people who had their car keys stolen from inside their house.
Why do thieves prefer this method?
Car security technology has improved significantly over the years, with sophisticated alarms and immobilisers fitted on most new vehicles. Instead of having to break into a car, criminals are finding it is much easier to steal the car keys, deactivate the alarm and electronic immobiliser and then taking the car! There are some significant benefits:
- Less damage, less noise and less attention.
- Reduced suspicion from the police as the car suffers no damage.
- No alarm alert so less chance of getting caught.
- Increased likelihood of a quick, undetected get away.
- Easier to sell the car quickly if there is no damage.
Before we provide advice on how to protect ourselves from “car key theft” we need to understand how the criminals get hold of the keys. We have come across the following examples:
- Fishing for keys through the letterbox.
- Breaking in to a house at night or when it is obviously empty.
- Pick pocketing or stealing handbags to get keys.
- Breaking into places where drivers might have left keys such as gym lockers or cloakrooms.
- Taking keys from desks, jacket pockets or drawers in workplaces.
- Some vehicle owners leave their vehicles unattended for a short while popping back into the house because they have forgotten something, at petrol stations etc.
Car keys have been described as the weakest link in the car theft chain as modern cars can’t easily be taken without the keys or application of violence. What can we do to protect our keys from theft?
- Focus on keeping your keys safe at all times – see them as an extension of your vehicle!
- Never hide a spare set of keys in your vehicle.
- Hide a spare set away in your home – but never near doors, windows or in any visible places around the house.
- Lock doors and windows when you are in a different room so thieves are prevented from sneaking into your house.
- Remove the ignition key every time you leave your vehicle even if it is on the driveway at home.
- If you warm your car up in the winter do not leave the vehicle at any time.
- Always lock all windows, doors and sunroof every time you leave the vehicle.
- If your home has been broken into, always check if the car keys are missing . Thieves who get hold of spare car keys may come back and try to steal your car later.
Be alert and vigilant and pay closer attention to your car keys. They are the keys to vehicle safety and fewer car insurance claims!