Usswitch’s Top 10 Car Safety Tips

Your car is probably one of the most expensive items you own, so it’s important to make sure it’s protected from thieves and vandals. And while 748,000 people were victims of vehicle-related theft in 2015-16 (Office of National Statistics), there are simple steps you can take to secure your car.

In addition to preventing theft, a few simple security adjustments could lower the cost of your insurance premium while reducing the risk of losing your no-claims bonus.

These top 10 tips from Association of master locksmiths could help you protect your car while saving money on your auto insurance.

1. Think about where you park

Your car will be safer against thieves if it is kept in a locked garage or secure parking lot. But it might be more likely to be bumped or scratched this way, so your insurer may increase your premium slightly to reflect this.

If you park your car in your driveway, consider installing a CCTV camera or motion-sensing lighting to deter criminals.

If your only option is to park on the street, make sure it’s in a well-lit area. But be aware that if you park away from home, even just around the corner, you must let your insurer know.

2. Remove the temptation of opportunistic thieves

Keep your valuables out of sight and ideally don’t leave them in your car at all. Even low value items can tempt thieves – and while these things are cheap to replace, you could end up losing your no-claim bonus by making a claim for a forced lock or broken window.

Also, don’t forget to hide any signs of expensive equipment, like the windshield marks left by GPS.

3. Fit an immobilizer

If your car does not yet have an immobilizer, installing one can be a great way to protect your car from theft.

Immobilizers work in a variety of ways by preventing the ignition, starter pump, or fuel pump from working if someone tries to start the car without their properly coded key. Installing an approved immobilizer can help reduce the cost of your auto insurance by reducing the risk of theft.

4. Get a car alarm

You can also consider installing an alarm if your car does not have one, or even an additional alarm if it does.

Insurers are more likely to give discounts on factory-installed or professionally installed alarms, but a DIY-installed proximity alarm could prove to be a good deterrent for thieves.

5. Take care of your keys

It might seem obvious, but you need to take good care of your car keys – they are the easiest option for a thief to steal your car. Keep all spare keys in a safe place and have your key reprogrammed if your car has had previous owners.

You need to act quickly if you lose your keys, even if you keep a spare, as the lost key can be used to access your car. A MLA Certified Locksmith can prevent the use of your lost key.

6. Protect your wheels

Modern car wheels can cost hundreds of pounds each and are an easy target for thieves. Locking lug nuts are inexpensive, easy to install, and can have an effective deterrent effect on criminals.

7. Have your windows engraved

Glass engraving is another discreet and effective way to deter thieves. By engraving the last seven digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN) or registration number on your windows, mirrors or headlights, you can prevent criminals from changing the identity of your car.

You can have your windows etched by glass assembly companies or purchase a DIY kit.

8. Buy a steering wheel lock

Although steering wheel locks have become less popular over the years, they remain an effective way to stop thieves as they provide another layer of security against cracks – handbrake and gearshift locks operate at much the same way.

They can also stop high tech thieves in their tracks, as they tend to target the car’s electronics and are unlikely to be carrying heavy equipment to remove these locks.

9. Get a car tracker

If you are serious about security, you may want to consider investing in a tracker. Trackers can make it much easier to trace and recover your vehicle if it is stolen, and many insurers will offer a discount for cars with trackers installed.

There are two main types of trackers: GPS systems can locate your car at street level, and VHF systems work even if the car is in an underground parking lot of a storage container. Many black box devices offered by insurance companies can act as trackers and can also help lower the cost of your insurance premiums.

10. Lock your car

Finally, remember to always lock your car. It might sound like basic safety advice, but an alarming number of people admit to leaving their cars unlocked, even leaving their keys in the ignition. In fact, 50% of people polled in a 2016 Uswitch poll admitted to letting their cars run unattended.

About Wendy Hall

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