Installing anti-theft devices on your vehicle can reduce your insurance premiums, sometimes by several percentage points. From the insurer’s point of view, it only makes sense; cars with security devices are less likely to get stolen and more likely to be recovered, ultimately saving the company more than the discount costs.
Automobile anti-theft devices come in two general forms: passive and active. Passive devices operate without requiring any action from the driver. Active devices require action, whether it be arming an alarm system or simply locking the door.
Insurance companies tend to prefer passive devices, as they offer less risk of human error. Different companies also favor different types of anti-theft devices. Check with your insurance provider before installing a security system to see if installation qualifies you for a discount.
Car Alarms and Immobilizers
Car alarms are an old standby for anti-theft devices, and many insurance companies offer discounts to cars with alarms. Companies prefer security systems that combine audio alarms with ignition immobilizers.
An ignition immobilizer prevents the engine from starting without a signal sent from a chip in the ignition key or automatic starter. When a thief attempts to start the car without the key, the system immobilizes the starter motor, the ignition switch or the fuel pump. Some immobilizers deactivate all three of these systems, while others only deactivate one or two.
Some insurance companies insist aftermarket immobilizers be installed by trained professionals, with the installer sending the company written verification of the type of immobilizer installed. Other companies only honor installations performed by professionals the company approves.
Active Global Positioning Systems
Active global positioning systems are tracking devices, allowing the police to locate your vehicle if it gets stolen. Such devices may not prevent theft, but at least make it possible to recover the vehicle.
Knowing about active global positioning systems is a little like knowing a motorcycle attorney; you might never need the service, but if you do, it’s invaluable. Many such services phone or text you a message if your vehicle moves without authorization. If you confirm the vehicle as stolen, the service notifies local law enforcement, who can track your vehicle using the service signal.
Etching Your VIN
One of the most effective anti-theft strategies is also one of the cheapest: have your 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number etched on your vehicle windows. Thieves are less likely to steal the car because they’ll have to replace the windows and windshield before they sell it.
VIN etching is remarkably effective, sometimes dropping a vehicle’s theft risk by 75 percent. If the vehicle is stolen, the etching makes vehicle recovery easier. The system works so well many insurance providers offer VIN etching discounts.
The point is, there are a lot of creative and inexpensive ways to protect your vehicle from theft and save on auto insurance. If you’re a first-time buyer, take action before someone else does.
Carl is an aspiring writer who enjoys blogging about anything and everything that crosses his mind, from car insurance to articles about Russ Brown, a motorcycle attorney. He’s constantly striving to strengthen his writing skills and is continuously grateful that the Internet allows him to share his thoughts with the world.