Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure, it’s always important to consider your car’s safety. Especially now that the Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that the number of vehicles that were stolen in 2020 increased by 11.8% from the previous year.
Unfortunately, business trips can sometimes be magnets for car thieves and vandals. But don’t worry—there are some easy ways to protect your car while you’re away. Here are five of the best:
Park in a well-lit, busy area.
If possible, try to find a spot that’s close to the entrance of your hotel or office building. Parking in a well-lit area will deter thieves, and parking close to the entrance will make it easier for you to keep an eye on your car. If you can’t find a tight spot that’s also well-lit, choose the latter over the former.
Most business travelers are on a tight schedule, so they often have to park in the first available spot. But if you can spare a few extra minutes, it’s worth it to walk a bit further to find a safer place to leave your car. This is because parking garages and surface lots are some of the most common sites for car break-ins.
Don’t leave any valuables in plain sight.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s incredible how many people still make this mistake. If you have to leave valuables in your car, hide them out of sight before you go into your meeting or check into your hotel room. It only takes thieves a few seconds to break a window and grab whatever they can see.
You can also invest in hidden storage solutions, like a false bottom in your trunk or a specially designed compartment for your center console. That way, you can keep your valuables close at hand without making them an easy target for thieves.
In addition, never leave your car keys in plain sight. Even if you’re just running into a store for a quick errand, hide your keys so that they’re not visible through the windows.
Use a steering wheel lock.
A steering wheel lock is one of the most effective anti-theft devices you can use. It makes it extremely difficult for thieves to drive off with your car, even if they manage to break into it. Steering wheel locks are also relatively inexpensive and easy to find, so there’s no excuse not to use one.
When finding the right one for your car, make sure to get a model that’s easy for you to use. You don’t want to be fumbling with a steering wheel lock in the dark when you’re trying to get into your car.
If you have a personal driver, make sure to educate them on the proper use of the steering wheel lock. That way, they can use it when you’re not in the car, and you won’t have to worry about it while you’re away.
Install a starter interrupt device.
Car starter interrupt and disabling systems are a relatively new car security measure that’s becoming more and more popular. It works by cutting off the flow of electricity to the car’s starter, preventing the vehicle from being started without the proper code.
Since most car thieves are looking for an easy target, a car that they can’t start is usually not worth their time. So, installing a starter interrupt device in your car can be a very effective way to deter thieves.
There are a few different brands of starter interrupt devices on the market, so do some research to find one that’s right for you and your car. A rule of thumb, though, is to choose a model that’s easy for you to use but difficult for an intruder to defeat.
Get your car alarm serviced regularly.
Car alarms are another great way to deter thieves, but only if they’re in good working condition. Make sure to have yours serviced regularly so that you know it will go off if someone tries to break into your car while you’re away.
For instance, many car alarms now have sensors that can detect when someone is trying to break a window. So, if your alarm doesn’t go off when someone tries to break into your car, it may be time for a new one.
In addition, consider investing in a GPS-tracking device. That way, even if your car is stolen, you’ll be able to track it down and get it back. Most servicing plans for car alarms will include GPS tracking, so be sure to ask about that when you’re getting yours serviced.
Following these simple tips can help ensure that your car stays safe while you’re away on business. From parking in well-lit areas to investing in regular car alarm servicing, taking a few extra precautions now can save you a lot of time and hassle later.