It can be convenient to leave your car on if you’re running inside the house to grab something you forgot or in the cold Wisconsin winter to let your car run to warm up. However, leaving your car running unattended for any period of time is opening an opportunity for theft. It only takes a few seconds for someone to jump in and drive off.
Auto theft has been on the rise and in Wisconsin, over 9,200 motor vehicle thefts occurred in 2020 with the highest number of thefts reported in Milwaukee County and Dane County.
How to prevent car theft?
- Always lock your car doors and close the windows
- Never leave your keys or key fob inside the car. With more keyless entry and the increase in key fobs, if the fob is left inside the vehicle, that allows the thief to enter the vehicle without needing to find the key.
- Don’t leave valuables in your car. Leaving an electronic, purse, wallet or a cell phone visibly exposed is showing a thief you have something valuable they may want.
- If your vehicle is unlocked outside for any reason, do not leave your garage door opener in it. Thieves have been known to use this as an entry to the house and take vehicle keys from inside.
What to do if your car is stolen?
- Report a car theft to the police and provide them with the following information:
- Make, model, color
- License plate number or VIN
- How many sets of keys were with the car for recovery
- Footage from smart home devices including a video doorbell and security camera may be helpful
- Call your insurance agent to let them know your vehicle has been stolen.
Many newer and luxury cars have installed tracking devices. GM vehicles equipped with OnStar also have tracking capabilities. If your car is stolen, this tracking system will use GPS technology to show the location on the OnStar app connected to your phone.
There are different types of car thieves including professional thieves and joy riders. Professional thieves typically use the vehicle to sell parts. A joy rider is someone who steals luxury cars. If recovered, these vehicles are often found to have severe damage.
Prioritize safety over convenience. Talk to your Rural Mutual agent to make sure your car insurance has the proper coverage.