Keep Your Virginia Vehicle Safe. Not only does a safer car cost less to insure, but it’s just makes sense to take some extra time that ultimately could you save you money on your car insurance, and perhaps save lives as well. After consulting with industry experts, we discuss some of the best available ideas that will protect you and any passengers you drive. Not losing your keys and not leaving your vehicle running are obvious choices. Many more helpful ideas are discussed below.
If You Have An Auto Alarm System…Use It!
Most Virginia car insurance companies offer a discount for having an alarm system. The discount will typically range from 2%-10%, depending on the type of system (passive or active) and where you reside. As you might assume, a higher-theft area of Virginia may generate a larger discount. Any additional anti-theft devices will also reduce your premium, such as OnStar or LoJack. Many other auto manufacturers have recently developed systems similar to Onstar that utilize global tracking networks. Most vehicles that cost more than $30,000 include this type of device as standard equipment. Tech-based auto-recovery tools can also help locate your vehicle before additional damage occurs.
But most importantly, your vehicle is certainly much safer by installing these types of devices since they have proven to be a big deterrent of theft. And since the average theft claim is thousands of dollars in some areas, you’ll put extra money in your pocket as well. You may also want to consider engraving your VIN number in the windshield. It will help reduce the risk of a break-in and perhaps help identify the criminal.
You can also purchase or obtain stickers that can be conveniently placed, so an unwanted intruder knows to stay away. If you don't have an alarm system, this might also be a great idea! These decals, although very inexpensive, especially help to protect motorcycles and RVs. The cost of alarms has reduced, so stickers may not be needed. Your local car dealership can review factory-installed options that can be customized for your own vehicle.
Park Your Car In An Enclosed Garage (If Possible)
Of course, this will keep you safe from the elements, such as rain, snow and especially hail. And because of the reduced risk, you will pay less for your car insurance rates, especially for a newer vehicle. The savings will be reflected mostly on your “comprehensive” portion of the bill, which includes fire and theft coverage. The market value of your car or truck will also be higher because of the improvement in the condition. Using an isolated garage is not a good idea! Note: A closed garage is covered for physical damage under your homeowner's insurance (Coverage B).
You also may be able to choose a specific space in a parking garage or parking lot. Although it may cost slightly more, a well-lighted spot next to a pole (assuming another vehicle can not park in that spot) is very desirable. Self-parking is always safer for your vehicle than valet parking. Also, neat vehicles are less likely to get vandalized. When not driving or riding in the vehicle, windows should also be closed at all times. The Vehicle Safety Inspection Department will help replace lost or stolen inspection stickers without a new inspection.
You’ll also notice that over time, your vehicle’s appearance will not look as “weathered” as many other vehicles. The resale value will be higher if you choose to sell the vehicle, and the trade-in value will definitely be higher if you trade for a newer car. It would not be unusual to add $500 to the market value of your car or truck (after about five years) by simply keeping it covered when not in use. The risk of damage from weather claims would reduce, and the chance of fire and theft claims would also diminish.
Don’t Forget About What’s Inside The Car
Sometimes we’re so concerned with the safety of the outside of the car, we forget about what’s inside. Typically, contents are covered by your homeowner’s insurance, although there may be deductibles and special limits that apply. Items such as luggage, clothes, CDs, and books are generally covered items and may not be subject to depreciation. But valuables may not be covered and expensive electronic equipment, unless scheduled, may not be properly replaced.
It’s important to try to keep as many of these items as possible out of sight from a passerby so there is no added temptation to steal them from your vehicle. Locking the doors is always a good idea. Also, it’s possible that your homeowner’s rate could increase because of a theft claim, so avoid those types of situations if possible. A small theft (less than the deductible) should perhaps be handled yourself. To help avoid a cancellation or non-renewal on your policy, higher deductibles eliminate the filing of smaller claims. One larger submitted claim is less likely to cause an underwriting cancellation than three smaller claims.
Check The Weather
Although snow and rain are unlikely to damage your car or truck, Virginia does have hail storms. The resulting damage can be thousands of dollars in dents too numerous to count. And there’s nothing worse than inspecting your new car or truck after a hail storm. Thus, take the time to bring your vehicle indoors if there is any threat of hail. Also, if you reside in a flood zone, moving your vehicle before heavy rains arrive should be considered. Tornado warnings should be taken seriously, along with any other weather alert.
Consider The Vehicle You Are Buying
According to a recent report from the NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau), the five most stolen vehicles in Virginia are the 1996 Honda Accord, 2000 Honda Civic, 2010 Toyota Camry, 2000 Dodge Caravan, and 2003 Ford Explorer. Evidently, replacement parts in these five vehicles may be worth more than the vehicle itself! Other years of these makes and models also rank high on the list. Many pickup trucks are also frequently stolen.
We are not recommending that you should not buy these vehicles. Just park them in a safe place, preferably in a garage. That should be enough to deter a potential thief from stealing it. If you would like unbiased opinions regarding the least expensive vehicles to insure in Virginia, we can provide it to you.
Hide your charging cords for your laptop, cell phone or other electronic device. When it is in plain view, it's an inviting an easy target for thieves. When parking, unload items and keep other items hidden.
As you probably (and hopefully) know, take your children with you instead of leaving them in your vehicle while you quickly step inside a store.
When you step inside your car or truck, lock the doors. Don't wait. Make it a habit to be the first thing you do, even before you start the engine.
If you leave your vehicle, turn the engine off and lock the doors. You might be amazed to know how often this is not done.
Stay safe, both on and off the road. Taking a little extra time, and researching and comparing before purchasing a vehicle, may save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the car.
Edward Harris is the owner and founder of this website. Since 1980, he has been helping individuals and families with their car insurance needs. During that time, he has handled more than 10,000 applications and continues to provide service for thousands of clients.
Ed is married with two children and enjoys tennis, golf, and international politics. Reluctantly, he bowls once every 10 years.
Ed Harris' articles are listed on this page. Enjoy !