They’re cunning, sneaky and they take your stuff and your vehicles. Thieves can strike your vehicle whether it’s a rental or not, or even whether you’re driving or not. Here are some tips to avoid thefts and break-ins of your car.
Rental Cars and Your Car
Having your rental car stolen can ruin your vacation or trip, especially if your luggage and personal items were in the vehicle. And if your own car is stolen or broken into, it can leave you feeling vulnerable. Here are some tips to prevent theft and break-ins at home and away.
- Park in well-lit, trafficked areas so your vehicle can be seen at all times
- Put away electronics and the GPS, don’t forget the cords and mounts
- Put your luggage and other valuables in the trunk, out of sight
- Lock all the doors and close the windows, including the sun roof
- Keep glove box and center console open so thieves can see there is no reason to break in
- Don’t leave the engine running while you run into the store, hotel, anywhere
- Don’t leave spare keys in your vehicle, thieves know where to look.
If your car or rental is stolen, it’s important to first call the police to report the stolen vehicle. Give them any information about your vehicle. If you have your rental information with you, give them the VIN# as well. Report any stolen items that were in the vehicle at the time.
After you speak to police, call your insurance company to report your stolen or damaged car even if it’s the rental car. If you have a rental car, call the rental car company to inform them of the situation and get another rental vehicle.
You may think that it could never happen to you, but carjackings are on the rise. Most carjackings occur with the purpose of stealing the vehicle.
Carjackings can happen no matter where you are or what country you’re in, but there are a few tips to help avoid being a victim.
- Stay alert when you’re driving and be aware of your surroundings
- Avoid high crime areas and less traveled roads
- Don’t park your car in isolated places
- Be vigilant at residential gates and driveways
- Be aware of your surroundings in congested driving areas
In case of a carjacking, the U.S. Department of State recommends doing the following:
There are two options during an attack - nonresistive, nonconfrontational behavior and resistive or confrontational behavior. Your reaction should be based on certain factors:
- Type of attack
- Environment (isolated or public)
- Mental state of attacker (reasonable or nervous)
- Number of attackers
- Whether children are present
In the nonconfrontational situation, you would:
- Give up the vehicle freely.
- Listen carefully to all directions.
- Make no quick or sudden movements that the attacker could construe as a counter attack.
- Always keeps your hands in plain view. Tell the attacker of every move in advance.
- Make the attacker aware if children are present. The attacker may be focused only on the driver and not know children are in the car.
In a resistive or confrontational response, you would make a decision to escape or attack the carjacker. Before doing so, consider:
- The mental state of the attacker.
- Possible avenues of escape.
- The number of attackers; there is usually more than one.
- The use of weapons. (Weapons are used in the majority of carjacking situations.)
In most instances, it is probably safest to give up your vehicle.
If you are the victim of a carjacking, call the police immediately for help. You will want to follow-up with your car insurance company and, if it’s a rental car, the rental car company.