1. 1994 Honda Accord
2. 2005 Ford Pickup
3. 2000 Honda Civic
4. 2011 Toyota Camry
5. 2000 Chevrolet Pickup
6. 2010 Toyota Corolla
7.2002 Ford Explorer
8. 2006 Nissan Altima
9. 2000 Dodge Caravan
10. 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Proper theft prevention can keep your auto insurance rates lower and save a lot of anguish and aggravation. Some of the best techniques and ideas start with taking your keys out of the ignition and locking your doors. Although simple and easy, about 10%-15% of drivers often neglect this. And of course, staying away from unlit areas helps. High-risk car insurance rates in Virginia are quite high! We don't want you on that list!
Many of these vehicles are stolen for one reason - their parts. Many illegal chop shops gladly pay a premium on stolen parts, and their shady business practices are difficult to track and prosecute. If they are brought to justice, and jailed, another illegal operation is eagerly waiting to take their place.
Alarms And Tracking Devices Help
Alarms, brake and wheel locks, window etching and brake pedal locks are always good ideas. If you can install any type of device that makes turning on the ignition a challenge for thieves, it will make a major impact. "Smart keys" and "kill switches" are very popular. An installed tracking device will also notify you where the vehicle is, which will make it much easier to recover. Within the next five years, we expect tracking devices to become standard in new vehicles. Of course, you could always leave your Smartphone under the seat and have the vehicle tracked that way!
Many car manufacturers are starting to offer advanced tracking devices that are similar to the General Motors "OnStar" program. The cost is steadily declining, so it may be a good time to inquire about them. Throughout specific times of the year, a discount is offered that could save as much as 30%. Typically available on both leased and purchased vehicles, the reduction on your auto insurance rate could offset a substantial percentage of the cost of installation.
The luxury vehicle class of thefts is also a concern in the state. Compact luxury cars are involved in the most activity followed by the mid-sized classification. Although Virginia was not one of the states at the top of the list (California, New York, New Jersey and Florida topped the list) it still represents a problem to both insurers and consumers. Although passive or active alarm systems are common in this particular class, thieves and burglars are still willing to accept the increased risk.
The five most common luxury vehicles stolen are the Mercedes Benz C-Class, BMW 3-Series, Infinity G Series, Mercedes Benz E-Class and Cadillac CTS. As expected, your auto insurance prices for these cars are often significantly higher, especially if a youthful driver is in the household or the principal driver has numerous violations. Other makes/models that are a thief's dream include the Lexus IS, Acura TSX, and Lincoln MKZ. Since all of these cars are equipped with active alarm systems, typically, they are recovered, although not always in the same condition!
What About Motorcycles?
With the value of many motorcycles exceeding $15,000, theft is now a common problem in many areas. They often can be easily resold or stripped down for their parts value. Also, approximately one out of every four motorcycles is recovered, which is significantly less than the percentage of stolen vehicles that are recovered. Part of the reason for the disparity is that there is a bigger international market for missing cycles. Parts, and sometimes, the entire chassis, are sent overseas and quickly stripped down.
Refurbishing and fraudulently reselling cycles as new, is a growing trend. The profit-margin is high and after the fraud is discovered, it's very difficult to catch the perpetrators. Serial numbers can also be changed, which makes it more difficult for authorities to trace. To help prevent becoming a victim, simply lock your cycle at all times, be leery about buying "assembled" bikes, get an authorized appraisal before purchasing, and closely check titles for misinformation.
What About Fraud?
In the past, thieves simply smashed windows and/or broke the steering column to steal a car. But lately, law enforcement authorities must be aware of many other new methods that can result in thousands of dollars of fraudulent claims. And most of the new scams are very difficult to detect. It's not just the random emails from Nigeria, but actual phone calls and personal visits to the home that can occur. Text messages should also be viewed with caution.
New Scams To Watch Out For
Destroying the evidence is one of the most common techniques. That can be accomplished by having the vehicle burned, reported missing (never again to be found) or showing up at the bottom of a river or lake. Also, filing a stolen-vehicle report with the insurer, collecting funds, and waiting 30-60 days before abandoning the vehicle is a fairly-common occurrence. New technology is helping to prosecute these thieves, but the problem still persists.
Another fairly sophisticated operation in Virginia is obtaining a loan for the entire purchase price and once again, reporting a fraudulent theft. By the time money is received for the missing automobile, it has been sent to another country where it will be sold on the black market. This method is very difficult to track, especially when the vehicle is sold only for parts.
This method is also fairly similar to scammers that produce a contrived registration of a car or truck that never existed. After the police report is filed, before long, a cash settlement is made on a vehicle that never existed. This practice has been slowly decreasing, but it still costs insurers and taxpayers millions of dollars each year.
Salvage fraud has been increasing in recent years. This occurs when you purchase a car or truck, that unknown to you, has been involved in a flood, rising tide or another form of water damage. After already "totaled by an insurer, it miraculously is put back on the market for sale. However, there are a few preventive measures you can take:
Only work visit and purchase vehicles from reputable dealers that have been in the area at least five years. If they suddenly appear, get references.
Check for stains, sand in different areas (including floor mats) and mildew. Look under and around seats and floor mats.
Look for color fading on seats and panels of doors. View the vehicle in the sunlight, if possible.
Closely check all seat belts and extend belt, looking for anything gritty that comes out. Check all belts including any in the trunk.
Watch for rust on any metal parts, whether exposed or not. Also, don't forget to look in the glove compartment.
Stereo speakers often show unusual damage with water damage so inspect closely. Check the volume controls and listen for sound quality.
Smell! Maybe a silly thing to do, but you can tell a lot by the stench you may notice. Ask another person to also smell the interior.
If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud, contact the police and your Va car insurance company immediately. Any photos, documentation, phone conversations or other observations may be very helpful in detaining arresting and ultimately convicting the persons that committed the act. Typically, you are not penalized or surcharged if you are an innocent victim. And by being diligent and observant, you are helping lower prices in your immediate area.
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 !