How to avoid auto break-ins, and accompanying car insurance claims

Written by Ryan Hurlbert on April 14, 2011 & Posted in Auto Insurance

I will admit that I am cheap. Very cheap. I use the economy long-term parking lot at the airport when I am only going to be gone for the day. I have to take two 20-minute shuttle rides. It saves me $6. Did I mention I was cheap?

Many people are reluctant to park in the economy long-term parking lot. They are afraid of having their car broken into, which is a legitimate fear no matter where you park. While I understand their apprehension, I have a procedure I have followed for years to minimize the chance of break-in, and the automobile insurance claims that can result.

Location, appearance minimize risk

First, I park near the end of the aisle whenever possible, preferably near the shuttle bus route or the main driveway to the exit. Maximum traffic means minimum opportunities for a thief to perform their dastardly deeds unnoticed, so park where lots of people can keep an eye on your car for you.

Remove everything that is not bolted down. I take all handbooks, pens, coffee cups, power cords, and CDs out of the car before I go to the airport. Don't forget to take the mounts for your GPS and radar detector off the windshield and dash, and don't leave power cords behind. Even if the unit is safely at your house, the appearance that those items might still be in the car could prompt a thief to break-in.

Insurance claims after a break-in

The loss of personal property left in your car is not covered by your auto insurance policy. If you have a renters or homeowners insurance policy, that policy covers your personal property anywhere in the world, including the economy lot. Without this coverage, you are simply out of luck. Even with the proper coverage, losses would be subject to your deductible and you would not recover much.

Damage to your car would be paid under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy, and is subject to your deductible. If you only carry auto liability insurance on your car, the loss is all yours.

You could easily end up filing two claims, paying two deductibles, and recovering very little for your losses. You can't make your car theft-proof, but--luckily--you just have to make it look like there are easier targets parked nearby. Like the old joke says, if you and I are being chased by a bear, I don't have to out-run the bear. I just have to be faster than you!

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