Britain has very high rates of car crime. Theft from cars - bags, laptop computers, mobile phones, audio equipment - exceeds car thefts, but both result in heartbreak, inconvenience and cost. Even claiming for a smashed window or a mangled door lock could jeopardise your no-claims discount (NCD), resulting in higher premiums when you renew your insurance cover.
Manufacturers have reacted to the problem of car security at different speeds. Nearly all cars now have engine immobiliser systems, although some are little deterrence to an expert thief. If an alarm is not standard, fitting one can reduce car insurance premium costs.
Nearly half of 2002's 314,000 reported car thefts happened at owners' homes. And roughly one in eight of all car thefts involved using the owners' keys. So always be security-aware. Some basic car security measures are common-sense and cost nothing:
- Never leave the key in the ignition - even at home.
- Always lock an unoccupied car - even when paying at the petrol station.
- Don't leave valuables on display
- Park in well-lit areas at night, especially in car parks
- If you have a garage, use it - and lock it.
WILL YOUR NEXT CAR HAVE THESE FEATURES?
|Deadlocks - prevent entry|
|Alarm - deters entry|
|Anti-theft glass - deters entry|
|Remote central locking - use it whenever you leave the car|
|Visible VIN - deters thieves from giving a stolen car a new identity|
|Security etching - makes it difficult to reuse parts from a stolen car|
|Tracking device - expensive but assists recovery of stolen cars|
|'Face-off' or unique-fit audio panel|