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a burglar trying to enter a locked car

5 Anti-Theft Devices to Protect Your Vehicle in 2024

    4 minute read

    Car theft continues to be a major issue across the country. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), nearly 500,000 vehicles were reported stolen during the first half of 2023, representing an increase of more than two percent compared to 2022. Although you cannot always prevent a thief from breaking into your car, there are measures you can take to make your vehicle an undesirable target. Utilizing anti-theft car devices and practicing smart parking habits can prevent you from becoming a victim of car theft and vandalism.

    Car Anti-Theft Devices to Utilize

    1. Steering Wheel Locks
    2. Wheel Clamps
    3. Electronic Immobilizing Devices
    4. Faraday Bags
    5. GPS trackers

    1. Steering Wheel Locks

    a steering wheel lock on a steering wheel as an anti-theft device

    Starting off our list of the best anti-theft car devices to have is a tried-and-true classic: a steering wheel lock. Designed to prevent your vehicle’s steering wheel from moving, a good steering wheel lock can quickly deter a would-be thief from targeting your vehicle. Although fairly simple, these locks can be highly effective with minimal investment. They aren’t indestructible, but it would take some power tools and time to quickly saw off the lock from a vehicle, which brings a lot of noise and unwanted attention to a thief.

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    2. Wheel Clamps

    wheel clamp on an classic car

    Okay, so maybe you don’t want to lock your steering wheel, but how about one of your actual wheels?

    Wheel clamps are like the types of boots police departments use, but in a smaller size that’s easier to manage. However, although they’re smaller than the traditional wheel boots, wheel clamps are still one of the best vehicle anti-theft devices that you can use to deter any would-be thieves. These clamps are also highly effective for securing trailers that remain stationary for long periods.

    Wheel clamps come in bright yellow and red designs that make it obvious to anyone that your car is secured. Even if a thief weren’t deterred, they wouldn’t be able to get very far as the clamp prevents any movement of the wheel. One downside is that you will have to get down to properly fasten it in place, but if you’re serious about preventing theft, this is a key tool to have.

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    3. Electronic Immobilizing Devices

    a car key fob

    If you don’t want to deal with bulky clamps and locks, there are still other ways to prevent your vehicle from moving without you in it. An electronic immobilizing device is often a factory-installed component that prevents your car from starting without the proper key or fob. These devices use an electronic signal transmitted between your vehicle’s key and the immobilizer unit. When the correct key is inserted, the unit reads the signal and allows the engine to start as normal. Without the proper signal, the car will not start.

    Kill switches, on the other hand, are also another form of immobilizing devices that are typically installed after-market. These manual switches can be installed in a car’s starting systems, such as the ignition circuit or fuel pump. When switched on, it blocks the flow of power to the starting systems, preventing the car from starting. The best part of these anti-theft devices is that they can be installed in hidden locations for extra security.

    4. Faraday Bags

    As the car industry advances, keyless entry and push-to-start features have become commonplace in new car models. Sure, these features are very convenient for the car owner, but they also open the door for thieves to duplicate radio signals that key fobs put out. If they can duplicate a fob’s signal onto another device, they’ll be able to access your vehicle the same way you can.

    A Faraday bag is a good prevention device to defend yourself from this theft tactic. Faraday bags may look like any other carrying case, but they do a lot more than store your belongings. These cases prevent thieves from duplicating your signals as they block any signals from being sent or received by your key fob to another device.

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    5) GPS Trackers

    Although a GPS tracker won’t prevent your car from being stolen, it can help to locate your stolen vehicle. Without one, you’ll have to rely on the police being able to find it, but that can be difficult if it is stored somewhere inside a building or garage.

    Some GPS trackers that are physically installed can even come with advanced features, such as live updates regarding vehicle diagnostics.

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    Will My Car Insurance Cover Car Theft and Vandalism?

    Car insurance can protect you financially after car theft or vandalism, but only if you carry comprehensive coverage. After settling your claim with your comprehensive coverage provider, you will receive a payout that is equal to your car’s actual cash value (ACV), which represents what your car was worth immediately before it was stolen. If your car is recovered, you can still use your comprehensive coverage to repair damage up to your vehicle’s ACV. Although comprehensive coverage will cover stolen or vandalized cars, it will not cover any items that were stolen alongside your car such as wallets, purses, or electronics.

    In order to file a comprehensive claim for a stolen or vandalized car, you’ll need to settle your plan’s deductible. A deductible represents the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurer covers the rest, up to your policy’s limits.  

    Get Your Auto Insurance Questions Answered

    Still, have some questions regarding how to keep your vehicle fully covered? Our insurance specialists can help. We have over 55 years of experience helping our customers navigate the auto insurance marketplace and connecting them with insurance providers that fit their needs. Give us a call today to speak to an insurance agent who can get your questions answered by calling (888) 772-4247 or starting a quote online.

    The information in this article is obtained from various sources and is offered for educational purposes. Furthermore, it should not replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.