Simple Daily Habits to Help Prevent Car Theft


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How theft-proof is your car? You rely on it every day to help you get to work, enjoy life and look after your family. It’s stressful, inconvenient and expensive to be without it. So taking a few steps to prevent car theft in your day to day life is totally worth it, we reckon.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that modern immobilisers and keyless or smart-key technology in our newer cars is enough to prevent them from being stolen. Unfortunately car thieves are clever. They’re continually honing their tools and techniques as technology progresses.

The reality is that in Australia a car is stolen about every 12 minutes. According to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) half of those cars are being taken directly from our home – using our keys.

A scary statistic! PD Insurance wants you to avoid needing to make a car insurance claim for your stolen car (and burgled house). So, we’re sharing a few simple yet effective ways to help you protect your car from theft and help you sleep better at night.

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How can I prevent my car from being stolen or broken in to?

NMVTRC research says that, for the most part, car thefts from a home – usually from your garage, driveway or street kerb – are opportunistic. That is, these thefts aren’t planned out like a bank heist. Thieves simply see an opportunity and seize it.

By making some small changes and introducing a few new daily habits, you might reduce the likelihood of having your car stolen. Let’s look at what you can do.

Ways you can help prevent car theft at home

Taking a few extra steps to prevent car theft directly from your home or garage involves investing in home security and keeping your keys safe.

  • Increase your property’s security with motion sensor lights, alarms and quality locks on doors. This reduces the ease of breaking into your garage or home.
  • Store your car keys away from doors and windows and lock your house. This applies even if you’re inside or just out the back.
  • Trim trees and shrubs so your car is more visible from the inside and you have a clear line of sight to your driveway or street. This also removes potential hiding places for thieves.
  • Going out? Take your car keys (and spares) with you in case your home is robbed while you’re out. Can’t take them? Invest in a safe for your valuables and stash them there.
  • Take your house keys and garage remote out of the car. You don’t want to make it easy for thieves to get inside your home while the car is in the driveway.

But what about when you’re not at home? We all have to take our cars out and about sometimes, or we wouldn’t have them.

close up of dark car being taken by car thief with screwdriver opening lock in car theft incident

Best car theft protection while it’s parked out and about

When you’ve popped out to the shops or have left your car parked at work, security risks don’t go away. Here are a few steps you can take to prevent car theft when you’re on the move:

  • Check you’ve locked up and removed valuables. Even if the thief doesn’t take your car, they might damage it to get to your valuables inside. Check the doors, windows, sunroof and cab are locked before you walk away.
  • Make your car look difficult to steal with anti-theft devices such as the good ol’ steering wheel lock and tyre lock. Pedal locks are less obvious but can still be effective deterrents. You could even get your VIN (vehicle identification number) etched into your windscreen and windows. This helps prevent car theft by making it harder for on-sell.
  • Park smart in well-lit areas, with CCTV cameras. And when you do so, deter people from trying to tow your car (and sell it for parts) by turning your wheels into the kerb when you park.
  • Invest in a quality anti-theft alarm and self-arming immobiliser (a security device that prevents an engine start unless the correct transponder car key is present). Be sure to check they comply with Australian Standards.
  • Bolt down valuables that can’t be removed. Install security screws to stop people taking your plates, and wheel lock nuts to stop the theft of your high-value wheels or tyres.
  • Remove personally identifiable info from your If your car is stolen and they find your rego certificate with your address inside, guess where they’ll go next? Don’t make it easy for them.
  • Use technology to help recover your car such as GPS trackers and MicroDots, to help authorities identify your car.

    What if my car is stolen?

    If the unthinkable happens and your car is stolen, don’t panic. We’ve covered the steps to take in our What to Do When Your Car is Stolen article. Put simply, these are:

    • Stay calm and gather yourself – the sooner you report the better
    • Call the police – provide as many details as you can so there’s a greater chance of your car being recovered
    • Contact your insurance provider – ditto; your policy will determine what assistance they’ll provide
    • Inform others your car is stolen – do you need to cancel credit cards from your wallet? Sort anything else with other belongings in the vehicle?
    • Check online for your stolen car – you might find it on car sales or general goods marketplace sites
    • Think about getting a replacement – if it’s been a lengthy time and a return is looking unlikely, will your insurance cover a replacement vehicle?
    • Protect yourself from another car being stolen – live and learn the ways to better safeguard your car

    In addition to these steps, you might even like to approach taxi companies and offer a reward for their help. One of our followers told us, “There are more taxis on road than police cars. That’s how we got a car back.” A great tip!

    woman researches how to save money on car insurance

    Get your car insurance right

    You can see how making these small changes to the way you store your keys and other valuables, park your car and secure it might just help you prevent car theft. A little change in routine could mean the difference between a thief taking (or avoiding) your mode of transport as their own. But if the worst does happen, having appropriate car insurance can make all the difference.

    Your car insurance premium may even be cheaper if you have applied extra anti-theft devices. If not, there are other ways to reduce your car insurance premium. But more importantly, anti-theft measures improves your car’s protection and, with it, your peace of mind.

    But remember to thoroughly check your policy for car theft insurance. Not all car insurance covers theft, of either the car or valuables inside it. Unfortunately, many policyholders don’t know this until they become a victim of theft.

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