Whether your classic has been in the family for years, or is a new addition, being the victim of vehicle theft can be devastating. Unfortunately, this is becoming all too common for many owners as classic car values soar. Whilst we may not be able to stop every vehicle being stolen, there are a number of ways we can help reduce the chance and here at Lancaster, we’ve created a list of helpful hints and tips that may help.
1. Lock your vehicle
Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but it is surprising how often this is overlooked. If your vehicle is left unattended, no matter how small the trip, always lock your doors. An unlocked car is an invitation to a would-be thief so let’s not make it easy for them. Sunroofs, windows open? Cabriolet owners; either secure all belongings in the boot or fold up the roof to protect it.
2. Don’t leave anything visible
Contents theft from a vehicle is opportunistic, so making sure nothing is left on display will help reduce the chance of your vehicle being targeted; the best deterrent is to lock your belongings in the boot when your classic is left unattended.
3. Think about where you leave your car
When your classic is at your home address and you’ve declared a garage to your insurer, make sure it is stored there overnight. If you are away from home no one expects you to have access to a garage but take a second to think about where you park your vehicle. Leaving it in a dimly lit area will encourage car thieves, so look for a well-lit area or one that has CCTV.
4. Check your garage regularly
There have been a few recent stories where owners have checked on their pride and joy, after an extended time, to find it’s gone. The simple solution is to check your vehicle regularly, at least once a week, and if you are on holiday ask a friend to pop in. Remember – the longer you leave it between visits, the less likely it is that the police will be able to recover your vehicle, if it’s missing.
Remote storage, (garage/lockup) is the most difficult to keep an eye constantly, therefore consider it’s weak points, i.e. door hinges, locks even what it’s made of! Make sure that it’s in good repair.
Knowing other renters and developing a mutually beneficial tie with them. A tracker system would be a really useful option.
Some activate if the vehicle is moved and informs you via call centre or text message.
5. Fit a security device
There are numerous security vehicle devices available, from crook locks and engine immobilisers to alarms and tracking devices. The latter is a very effective way of securing your vehicle and whilst it won’t prevent your vehicle being stolen, it has the highest recovery rate of any device on the market. You can even purchase tracking devices that are both inexpensive and won’t require your classic to be changed cosmetically or structurally to accommodate them.
6. Think about your social media activity
Social media is brilliant for finding out information about classic events, sourcing hints, tips and advice as well as connecting with other enthusiasts. However there can be a downside, with many people sharing their whereabouts on a regular basis. Whilst there is nothing wrong with for instance, sharing when you’re on holiday, does let would-be car thieves know that our vehicles are unattended. To reduce the risk, think about who can see it and if necessary check your privacy settings so that only trusted friends can see your posts.
7. Secure your car at a show
Many of us like to visit shows and chat to other enthusiasts and show case our pride and joy. If your car is unattended, lock your doors, place your contents in the boot and make sure that any security on your vehicle is set.
Car Shows, especially very large one’s often present thieves with golden opportunities, whenever possible go as a club whereby other members can keep an eye on your pride and joy whilst you’re away from the area.
Rare vehicle parts, it’s a sad reality that some people are willing to steal parts from your car especially rare and or valuable items such as Plastic boot hinge covers on Escorts cabriolets, alloy wheel centre caps etc. Sometimes awareness and prevention is all it takes to have an incident free day at a show.
8. Securing your vehicle at home
Whilst this may not be possible for every owner, if you can, invest in some additional home security. From ground posts on your drive way, to fitting an alarm to your garage or even installing CCTV, just their visible presence could be enough to put off any potential car thief.
Remember to store your keys in a place out of sight and well known to you, if you’re without your vehicle. Many of us hang our keys up on a hook next to the front door or leave them visible on a coffee table and this can be an open invitation for any thief.
10. Agreed Value
Whilst this will not protect or prevent your vehicle from being stolen, it is vital that your classic is insured for its true value. The classic car market is very buoyant at present, with many owners finding that their prized possession is under insured. When purchasing an insurance policy, make sure it includes an Agreed Value so that, should the unthinkable happen, you’re not left out of pocket.
Sometimes having agreed value added to your policy adds extra work for you; with photos, declarations etc. Consider this for an example, a Ford Sierra, XR4, Agreed value, £4,500 compared to market valued £200. Quite a difference.
11. Car clubs
Many car clubs offer tips and advice on security and trend awareness, types of cars stolen and how?
Belonging to a car club often presents the ability to have far more people looking out for a recently stolen car or even parts from it. Auction sites, parts dealers or scrap yards. The registration plates may be removed but recognising it can often lead to recovery with the help of the police. Potential discounts from suppliers are also a good way of securing your car.
Following these simple tips can help reduce the risk of theft; sadly it still happens across the Country but everything you do can help stop or ensure recovery of your vehicle. To make sure your classic has the correct level of cover and is insured for its true value, please contact Lancaster Insurance on 01480 587016 or go online to Lancaster Insurance.