WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GEICO investigators see it time and time again. You park your car, only to return later to discover it’s gone. It happens every 45 seconds according to a recent Insurance Information Institute report.
The FBI says that more than 700,000 cars were stolen in 2015 – that’s nearly 2,000 vehicles every day – and many of the thefts are due to driver mistake. With these stark numbers, GEICO offers tips to help drivers protect their vehicles from theft.
- Keep your vehicle locked at all times – Make sure your car doors are locked at all times, even while driving. Close all windows and the sunroof when exiting the vehicle. When parked, always remove your keys and never leave your car running and unattended.
- Be mindful of where you park – Be particularly cautious about where you park, especially at night. Choose an area that is well-lit and populated. If available, park in a supervised lot or secured garage. It may cost a few extra dollars, but the added protection and peace of mind is well worth it.
- Don’t leave items in your vehicle in plain view – Avoid leaving valuable items inside your vehicle in plain view. Remove shopping bags, electronics, GPS devices and accessories that may entice a thief. Store any visible items in the trunk of your car when you are away from your vehicle.
- Take advantage of anti-theft technology – Install an anti-theft system in your vehicle if it doesn’t have one. Car alarms, immobilization technology and tracking devices are a deterrent and offer added protection. Thieves are also less likely to steal vehicles that have a visible or audible anti-theft presence. Many insurance carriers offer discounts for anti-theft systems.
- Don't leave personal documentation in the car – A big mistake car owners make is leaving their personal documents in the car. If a thief steals your vehicle, they will have access to personal information, which may lead to identity theft. Items such as a driver’s license, auto insurance card, vehicle title and registration should be kept on your person or stored at another location.
- Always be aware of your surroundings – Observe your surroundings at all times while driving. Preplan the route that you’re going to take and avoid known high-crime areas, even if the alternate route takes longer. If confronted by a car thief, do not resist. A car can be replaced.
In the unfortunate event that your car is stolen, immediately call the police. Once a police report has been filed, contact your insurance carrier. For more information on auto theft prevention, visit www.geico.com/information/safety/auto/preventing-auto-theft.