What can the vehicle owner do to reduce the risk of car insurance claims? The Arrive Alive Website offers much advice pertaining to safe driving and accident avoidance. Many claims are however not the result of vehicle damage from road accidents but claims from vehicle loss caused by criminal activity such as hijacking and vehicle theft.
In a series of blogs we will investigate vehicle theft and offer advice on how the vehicle owner can protect his ownership. These aspects include safeguarding against car key theft, cautious parking, car security mechanisms etc.
Protecting your car from theft does not have to be expensive. Security systems should be used in addition to responsible ownership and a bit of common sense. By being cautious, alert and aware of your surroundings you can lay the foundation for safe ownership and a reduced risk of car insurance claims.
Professional thieves prefer their task to be quick and easy – by taking some precautions, you will be able to make this more difficult and perhaps stop these attempts in their tracks!
We would like to provide the following recommendations to vehicle owners:
Where to park your car
- If you can, park your vehicle behind locked gates or in the garage. The most common place where vehicles are stolen is in the street outside your home.
- Park your vehicle in a safe place that is well lit – avoid stopping at remote places.
- It is advised to park in well populated or well travelled areas, not crowded by bushes or buildings where offenders might hide.
- Avoid concealment from larger vehicles, fences, trucks, vans, dumpsters, and other objects that obstruct visibility and provide hiding places.
- If possible, park in the vicinity of a security camera.
- At night, try to park near the lighted entry of a restaurant, not in back. Choose a window table overlooking your parking spot so that you can see what is happening while you eat.
- Parking lots with a parking attendant or supervision/ someone patrolling are best.
- Avoid parking your motor vehicle where there are no security personnel guarding other cars.
- Be cautious of long-term parking lots.
- Be alert and on the lookout for suspicious persons in the area.
- If strangers loiter near or at your driveway, rather drive past.
- Do not open your garage doors before your gates are closed.
- If you park on the street, turn your wheels toward the curb until they lock, use the emergency brake, and try to park between other cars.
- Install a motion-activated floodlight that illuminates the area where your car is parked outside your home.
Never underestimate the value of feedback from residents and business owners in the vicinity where you park. Ask whether you are parking at a safe spot and whether they would advise a different place to park.
Having parked your car:
- Beware of your surroundings before leaving your vehicle.
- Always lock your vehicles doors and keep the windows closed, even if you think you will be away for only a minute.
- Simply locking the doors will deter those who might just be waiting around for an easy target.
- Never leave your keys or your spare keys in your vehicle – An experienced thief knows all the hiding places.
- Personal items visible from the outside, even an empty shopping bag, could be seen as a valuable or a carrier of valuables – keep shopping bags or other belongings out of sight.
- Don’t leave any bait out for thieves; stow your electronics such as iPods and accessories well out of sight – or better yet, bring it with you.
- Remove evidence of valuables such as power plugs, iPod adapters, GPS systems, windshield suction-cup mounts. You should even put the cigarette lighter back in place.