Preventing Auto Theft

Recent studies indicate that a vehicle is stolen every 25 seconds or so in the United States. That’s a staggering piece of information considering that many new vehicles now cost over $25,000 and explains why anti-theft devices and services like OnStar and LoJack are becoming increasingly popular.

When it comes to preventing your vehicle being stolen, experts agree that the basics are always important. People simply forget to lock their vehicles and they leave purses, wallets, laptops and GPS equipment in plain view of passersby. Parking in well-lit areas, installing motion sensitive lighting over your driveway, and arming your car’s alarm system are all simple ways to deter thieves.

Adding a bit of highly visible hardware can help as well. The Original Club is the most commonly used mechanical steering wheel lock in the world. Its steel bars resist most saws and hammers, and the Club will fit just about any kind of car, SUV, van or truck. The Club LX model features laser encrypted keys, solid steel hooks and is guaranteed by the manufacturer for up to $1,000.

Many new vehicles now come with a “kill switch” as part of the alarm system. Kill switches immobilize the vehicle by shutting down the fuel injection or electrical system when tampering is suspected. In addition to the loud alarm sounding, cars equipped with this type of anti-theft device just won’t start if tampered with.

Two security systems that have become increasingly popular are LoJack and OnStar. Both offer recovery systems in the event your vehicle is stolen.

LoJack uses a hidden “transceiver” placed in the car to track it once it is reported stolen. The LoJack system is fully partnered with law enforcement agencies across the U.S. so the signal can be tracked by police and the vehicle can be located and recovered. It’s reported that over 90% of vehicles equipped with LoJack are recovered.

OnStar is General Motors’ safety offering and is available to all GM buyers in the US and Canada. Since 2007, the system has become standard on all GM models of trucks, cars and SUVs in both countries. Different levels of OnStar service are available for about $17 per month.

No matter which system you choose for your vehicle, check with your auto insurer for discounts available to you. Typically, the more automated a security system is, the less it relies on the driver to operate it correctly, and the greater the discount you may qualify for.

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