Vehicle theft is a very real problem in Rhode Island. In 2019 alone, 1,358 vehicles were stolen on Rhode Island. However, this isn’t the only threat Rhode Islanders face. Catalytic converters are also being stolen at an alarming rate in areas such as Westerly. Considering it can cost over $2,000 to repair your vehicle, it is well-worth doing what you can protect your vehicle and prevent theft.
Here are the best tips offered by law enforcement to keep your vehicle as safe as possible.
Use Common Sense
When possible, park in well-lit, heavy traffic areas such as near a building or parking lot entrance.
Lock your vehicle’s doors, close the windows and sunroof, and never leave your vehicle running with the keys unattended inside. Don’t leave valuables inside your vehicle either.
If you’re travelling to a new area, plot your route. Avoid high crime areas and remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
Use Your Garage
Many people have garages, but they don’t use them to park. Clear out the rubbish, park indoors, and close the door.
Mix Things Up
If you regularly park in one area such as a commuter or work parking lot, try not to park in the same spot each time. Thieves watch these lots and will spot your vehicle when it’s there regularly.
Care for Catalytic Converter
Those driving SUVs or pickup trucks might want to consider welding their catalytic converter to the frame of their vehicle. These vehicles are most targeted as they are higher off the ground. Welding makes it much harder for thieves to remove a catalytic converter quickly.
Alternatively, engrave your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the catalytic converter. This bit of information could help a scrap dealer realize the item is stolen. You may also want to etch the VIN on each window. Thieves don’t want to replace all the glass.
Hide The Registration
Don’t leave your vehicle’s title in the glove box. Place it in a less obvious location that a thief isn’t likely to check.
Install Anti-Theft System
Consider installing an anti-theft system in your vehicle if it doesn’t have one. Set it to sense vibrations should someone want to steal your catalytic converter. Thieves are less likely to target an alarmed vehicle and you may qualify for an insurance discount.
Buy Comprehensive Coverage
You need comprehensive auto insurance coverage for damage not caused by a collision such as vandalism, theft, fire, and more. Your policy will have a limit, but should your vehicle be stolen, it could pay out to the maximum amount on a covered claim.
However, it is important to realize that comprehensive coverage typically only compensates you for the actual cash value of your vehicle. That is your vehicle’s depreciated value, minus your deductible. Should you want to replace your stolen vehicle with a newer make and model, you will need to pay out-of-pocket for the difference.
If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, consider increasing your coverage. Otherwise, your insurer will not cover a vehicle or catalytic converter loss.