Do car thefts go up in the summer? Does where you live increase the likelihood your car will be found if it's stolen? Progressive Insurance examined its 2012 Personal Lines data to answer those questions and more. The car insurance company found:
- A 15% increase in car thefts during the months of July and August, versus the rest of the year
- July was the month with the highest percentage of theft claims, followed by August and June
- Nine out of 10 of the highest car theft dates occurred between July and September
- Dates, in order of the number of stolen car claims, are 7/15 (highest day for claims in 2012), 7/1, 4/29, 9/4, 7/23, 8/26, 9/15, 7/7, 9/23 and 8/12
- Cars were most likely to be stolen on a weekend, with the highest day for stolen car claims being Sunday, followed by Saturday
The data also showed how likely cars were to be recovered. While on average a car was recovered roughly 46% of the time, the state-by-state recovery rate varied greatly. In Washington, the highest state for recovery, cars were recovered 71% of the time. In Michigan, the lowest state for recovery, cars were recovered just 19% of the time.
- The top five highest states for vehicle recovery in 2012 were:
- Washington (71%)
- Utah (63%)
- South Dakota (61%)
- Nevada (61%)
- California (60%)
- The lowest five states for vehicle recovery in 2012 were:
- Michigan (19%)
- Pennsylvania (26%)
- Arkansas (28%)
- Alabama (28%)
- Mississippi (29%)
So how do you prevent your car from being stolen? Progressive Claims Trainer and former Virginia State Trooper Todd Golling is an expert on break-ins, and has advice on how to deter thieves from targeting your car for theft, or a break-in.
"Thieves are lazy, so if you do anything to make their job more difficult, they'll move on to the next car," said Golling. "Even if you don't have a car alarm, if you have a sticker that says you do, your car becomes a less likely target."
Golling also offers this advice about where to be extra careful with your car.
"Anywhere that you'll be parked for a long time - churches, sports venues, concerts, etc. - are targets for car thieves," continued Golling. "That applies to the theft of the car itself and items in the car. Remove everything from your car when you're at those kinds of places."
Below are some best practices from Todd Golling to make your car less of a target.
- Rule #1: If you don't want it stolen, don't leave it in your car. Simple as that. A visible iPod or GPS is a temptation for "smash and grab."
- Rule #1 is particularly important when traveling. Remove everything from your car at a hotel. Thieves patrol hotel parking lots and look for things like out of state plates, or suction-cup marks on the windshield to indicate a GPS device might be in the car.
- It sounds simple, but make sure you lock your car. Even if you're only leaving it unattended for a minute.
- If you go on a shopping trip, keep a blanket in your car to cover the items you buy. Thieves are less likely to take the risk of breaking into your car if they don't know what they're getting.
- Don't keep spare keys to your car or house anywhere in your car.
- Don't leave anything with your address on it i.e. mail, registration, insurance card.
- Locking gas caps, wheel-locking nuts, and engine immobilizers are a great way to tell the thief "It's not going to be easy!"
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies makes it easy to understand, buy and use auto insurance. Progressive offers choices so consumers can reach us whenever, wherever and however it's most convenient for them - online at progressive.com, by phone at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE, on a mobile device or in-person with a local agent.