Protect Yourself From Motor Vehicle Theft That Happens More Often in the Warm Summer Months
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Protect Yourself From Motor Vehicle Theft That Happens More Often in the Warm Summer Months

More than half of all vehicles stolen every year in the United states are never recovered, making theft prevention critical

June 30, 2020

A motor vehicle is stolen every 40.9 seconds somewhere in the United States, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That's nearly 775,000 vehicles for a combined value of about $6 billion. NHTSA trend data also shows that vehicle thefts are most common in the warm summer months. Know what to do to prevent vehicle theft and what to do if yours is stolen.

More than Half of stolen Vehicles never recovered

According to NHTSA data, only about 41% of motor vehicles that are stolen locally are ever recovered, which in a decrease compared to previous data. Vehicles that are not recovered lead to insurance companies paying out stolen vehicle claims, which increase industry costs that get passed to customers. And if you do not have insurance protecting you or if your insurance lapses, you won't get any insurance payout at all and will be fully responsible for your losses.

Driver Error a big factor

About half of all stolen vehicles results from error on the part of the driver, such as leaving the vehicle unlocked, leaving windows down, leaving keys in the vehicle, parking in a secluded area, leaving valuables in plain sight, or leaving the vehicle running and unattended. Leaving the vehicle running with the air conditioning on may account for the spike of stolen vehicles in July and August, which are both very warm across most of the country.

Tips for Avoiding Auto Theft

  • Always take your key; don't leave it in, on, or near your vehicle.
  • Always close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Park in well-lit and open areas. Avoid areas that give criminals a place to hide.
  • Park your vehicle in your garage.
  • Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be clearly seen.
  • Never leave the area while your vehicle is running.
  • Protect your vehicle with an anti-theft/immobilizer device.

If your vehicle has been stolen

  • Don't panic.
  • Contact the police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report. Be ready to provide information about your vehicle, such as the license plate, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and identifiable characteristics.
  • If your vehicle has a theft recovery service or device, notify that company and inform the police. Do NOT attempt to recover the vehicle yourself.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim. Even if the vehicle is recovered in pristine condition, recovered vehicles typically have a loss of value at resale.
  • If you find your vehicle before authorities, contact the police and your insurance company immediately. Don't touch the vehicle to avoid disturbing any evidence, such as fingerprints.