How you can prevent your car from being stolen

09 January 2020

If you rely on your car to get around — for errands, work or recreation — having it stolen could be stressful and costly. A car is stolen every 12 minutes in Australia, with the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) estimating that victims are left, on average, $3,000 out of pocket.1

But don’t let the statistics get you down. Whether you’ve just splurged on a brand new car or you’re driving around in something a little older, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of becoming a target.

Keep your car secure

Lock up

Every time you get out of your car, be sure to wind up the windows and keep your doors locked even if it’s parked in your driveway. You could also think about using a steering lock, which, though it might take time and effort to put on, can be an effective visual deterrent.

If you have a keyless entry car, try keeping the fob device in a signal blocking pouch or turn off its wireless signal. This way, a potential thief won’t be able to identify the signal and replicate it to get into your car.

Install an anti-theft system

Installing an anti-theft system in your vehicle can help to prevent opportunistic crime from occurring and deter thieves from breaking in. These systems include:

  • engine immobilisers, which are designed to shut off your vehicle’s engine or prevent older cars from being hotwired
  • car alarms, and
  • GPS tracking devices that communicate with law enforcement so your car can be recovered.

Microdots, which are etched with an identification number, are another useful theft deterrent that can also assist in vehicle recovery. They’re smaller than 1mm across and sprayed all over your car, which makes it very difficult for an offender to detect and remove them.

In some newer vehicles microdots come standard, but you can also purchase microdot kits to add them yourself. These kits will usually come with stickers that indicate your car has been marked for police identification.

Hide valuable items from view

Although not ideal, if you need to leave something valuable in your car, be sure to hide it from view. Leaving your smartphone or wallet on the passenger seat could be the encouragement a thief needs to break in. Try using your glove compartment or boot. Or, better yet, take valuable items with you

Park in a well-lit area at night

If you live in the inner-city where space and garages come at a premium, your only option for parking may be on the street. To reduce the likelihood of theft, park in a well-lit area overnight. Areas in front of building entrances, which potentially have security cameras, might also provide safer spots. Take care not to isolate yourself late at night, as this could put your personal safety at risk

Don’t forget about home security

According to the NMVTRC2, savvy thieves may target your home as a way of accessing your car keys. To protect your keys, avoid leaving them lying around on surfaces or key hooks, and never leave a spare anywhere in your car. And if you’re planning on heading out on foot, keep your car keys on you.

Make sure you’re covered

Having car insurance won’t reduce the risk of theft occurring — we’re good, but we’re not that good — but you could be covered if it does. GIO offers three levels of car insurance with coverage for theft. From our basic cover Fire, Theft and Third Party Property Damage, to our premium Platinum Comprehensive  cover (lifetime new car replacement*, anyone?), you can choose the level of car insurance that suits your needs.

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  1. NMVTRC: Motorist information
  2. NMVTRC: Don’t be a victim

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*Provided you are the first registered owner and your car has been continuously insured under GIO Platinum cover from within 13 months of your car’s purchase until the time of the total loss. We will replace your car with one of the same make and model (or similar make and model if the same isn't available), or pay you the reasonable replacement cost. Limits & exclusions apply.

Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.