If it’s something you have restored yourself, then the loss is all the more personal but even theft of an everyday car will have consequences including inconvenience and feelings of personal violation.
If you owe money on your means of transport, then comprehensive insurance is essential. Often you will be required to arrange cover as part of the finance agreement.
Even the best insurance won’t stop your vehicle being stolen, but there are actions you can take to minimise that risk and your premium.
Enthusiast bases its premiums on the risk represented by not only the vehicle itself but how it is housed and the types of anti-theft protection it has. A car that is in a locked garage at night and has additional security will cost substantially less to cover than one that has neither.
Keeping your vehicle in a locked garage will dramatically reduce its risk of being stolen. It also protects against other forms of loss including malicious and hail damage.
If your vehicle is very valuable or you have several vehicles kept at the one location, special anti-theft and possibly fire-prevention measures may be required.
Many later models have integrated anti-theft systems which provide a reasonable degree of protection. However, as they are mass-produced, a professional thief will know how they operate and how they can be overcome.
Fitting a non-factory immobiliser or even something as simple as a hidden ‘kill switch’ will make your vehicle harder to steal because it will require the thief to spend more time and risk detection while hunting for and disabling the system.
Monitored ‘tracking’ devices are essential in some high-value models or those with a significant theft risk. These systems operate via GPS networks and allow a vehicle’s location to be quickly pin-pointed.
Some send the owner a mobile phone alert if the vehicle moves while the system is activated and may also allow its engine management system to be disabled by remote control.
Thieves know this and will often use trucks to move vehicles to hidden locations, so it is essential to alert the tracking system provider immediately you suspect theft.
Keys taken during home break-ins or even from handbags left unattended are used in many thefts.
Making a habit of hiding keys in a specific place – the pantry or under other items in a kitchen drawer, for example – will help defeat house-breakers who could otherwise disable your vehicle’s security system and drive off with it and a load of your other property.
If your vehicle is rarely used, removing and hiding a small but vital component will ensure that it can’t be easily started even if a thief finds the keys during a break-in.
Should you lose keys at a shopping centre or other public place, alert security staff and police immediately. It may be possible for them to quickly detect a thief who is walking the car-parks pointing the remote at possible targets in the hope that one responds.
When leaving your vehicle even for a few seconds at a service station or corner store it is essential to remove the keys and preferably lock it. A thief who sees keys in a just-refuelled car won’t need a second invitation.