Auto thefts and break-in on the rise — review your insurance
by Anne Obst
Auto thefts are up significantly since 2019. Western states are getting hit the hardest (Washington state saw an 88% increase in auto thefts in the first three months of 2022). But New Jersey saw a huge 31% increase in the same period.
Kia and Hyundai auto thefts skyrocket after Tiktok video
TikTok videos show how to steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles using a USB cord and the TikTok “challenge” has spurred teens to steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles in record numbers.
If you don’t have theft and comprehensive insurance, you will get stuck with all the costs to repair damage caused by the theft, assuming your vehicle is recoverd.
Auto break-ins are also on the rise
San Francisco reports vehicle break-in increased 200% since 2021.
Catalytic converter thefts are also on the rise
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that and average of 108 catalytic converter thefts per month were the norm in 2018. By January 2020, that number had jumped to 652 cases per month. Then it skyrocketed 2,347 in December, 2020.
Re-evaluate your insurance coverage
Get comprehensive coverage for Auto theft and break-in
The criminals are more tech savvy and use apps to track any electronic devices left in your vehicle. They’re also making their own smart keys to steal cars and they’re changing the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) to avoid getting caught.
If you leave items in your car, you can expect broken windows, windshields, and locks, along with the loss of business and personal property. So a single auto break-in can lead to three or four different claims, and that can increase your premiums. .
Car insurance coverage should include
• Comprehensive coverage with lower deductibles to cover glass breakage/chips/crack, along with stolen catalytic converters and theft damage.
• Rental vehicle coverage
• Cyber coverage for laptops or cellphones left in vehicle
Tips for preventing auto theft and break-in
• Do not leave any belongings inside your vehicle. That includes loose change, clothing, phone chargers, or garage door openers.
• If you store you phone or computer in the trunk, disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and power them off.
• Park in a busy, well-lit area.
• Close all windows and sunroof completely.
• Remove all keys from the vehicle.
• Lock the vehicle, making sure the alarm is activated if you have one.
Beware of criminal tricks
Some car thieves place cash under windshield wipers in store parking lots. They then wait nearby, hoping you’ll step out of your vehicle to examine it. When you step out, they rush over to take control of your vehicle.
• If you see money under your wiper, ignore your base instincts and drive away. You can check the money later.
• Be aware of your surrounding when sitting in a parked car. Park in a stop where you can drive away without backing up. Criminals often work in pairs and approach the passenger side asking for directions to an obscure location (“Where’s the nearest Barnes and Nobles?). While you’re thinking, the other partner will open the driver’s door, pull you out and steal the vehicle.
• During this high crime period, STOP BEING NICE! Ignore all requests for directions and just drive away.
Timing Is Everything When Reporting a Vehicle Crime
If you experience a theft or break-in, contact the police immediately. If you’re in a shopping center, also contact the mall security office.
You’ll need this information to report a stolen vehicle to the police:
• Year, make, model, and color of the vehicle
• License plate number
The year, make, model and VIN are usually listed on your insurance card.
Then contact your insurance company to report the theft or break-in
To collect from your insurance company you must have:
• Physical damage to the vehicle
• Comprehensive coverage.
• A police report.
• Details on vehicle damages (providing photos will help)
• List of all stolen items (indicating which items are personal vs. business property)
©, 2022 Anne Obst