Protecting your vehicles from theft this autumn
If you work in the motor trade, vehicles are at the heart of your business. And if one of your vehicles gets stolen, it could cause significant financial loss. A survey by Norwich Union shows autumn to be peak season for car theft but with a little forward thinking – and a good motor trade insurance policy – it’s easy to protect your motors from thieves.
Autumn: peak season for car theft
According to the survey by Norwich Union, motor theft occurs most often in September, October and November. Several reasons are given for this: firstly, autumn is the beginning of shorter daylight hours and thieves prefer to work in the dark. Secondly, most of us have more evenings in in the autumn, meaning we’re less likely to be using our cars in the evenings.
Norwich Union found that mainly older cars were stolen, with the majority of stolen cars being seven years old or more. They also discovered that cars were stolen for a variety of reasons, including stripping them for parts, stealing the contents and as an alternative to public transport. But for whatever reason the cars were stolen, they were much more likely to be stolen in autumn than any other time of year.
Protecting your vehicle from theft
While autumn may be a prime time for car thieves, there’s plenty you can do to protect your vehicles from theft. This includes:
- Locking all doors and closing all windows
- Never leaving keys in the ignition
- Never leaving a vehicle running unattended
- Ensuring your vehicles are fitted with car alarms and using them
- Never leaving registration details in the car – this will help thieves sell it
- Never leave expensive tools or equipment on show
- Fitting a steering wheel lock when your car is parked
- Fitting ignition kill switches to halt your vehicle’s fuel supply
- Fitting tyre locks
- Using a vehicle tracking system
Remember, these are just some of the things you can do to protect your vehicles from theft. If you run a sales forecourt, always make sure the gates are securely locked before you leave and that all vehicles are securely locked. CCTV cameras and security alarms are also recommended.
And if you’re a mobile valeter, take extra care to protect your vehicle while you’re out on a job. Never leave the engine running while it is unattended and never leave your tools and equipment in an unlocked vehicle, vulnerable to thieves.
The importance of steering wheel locks
In 2012 it came to light that there had been an increase in electronic car theft, particularly of those with a button start. This was because of a new EU directive that encouraged all manufacturers to release security information to independent garages so that they could work on any car. This made it even easier for car thieves to steal electric cars – in particular those without a steering lock or electronic steering lock.
A good steering lock can cost you between £35 and £50, which may seem like a lot but isn’t in the long run. A good thief can break a cheap steering wheel lock in a matter of minutes so don’t be tempted to scrimp on this worthwhile investment that will ultimately help protect your vehicles.
Many car thieves simply cut the steering wheel to remove the car lock; that’s why it’s vital to invest in a lock that covers the whole wheel and cannot be cut off, especially if you have a button-start car.
Third party, fire and theft motor trade insurance
Sometimes you can do all you can and your vehicle will still get stolen. But don’t worry – these things happen and as long as you’ve got a good motor trade insurance policy to protect you, you can replace the stolen vehicles with minimal financial damage to your company.
By law, all motor traders must at least be covered by a third party only motor trade insurance policy. This allows the motor trader to drive any vehicle in his/her possession for motor trade purposes and protects them against any damage they do to another vehicle.
However, by upgrading to motor trade insurance with DNA that covers third party, fire and theft, you can ensure your vehicles are protected in a number of situations.
DNA Insurance also offers policies tailored to different types of motor traders, such as bodyshop insurance, which will include special features that specifically apply to your business.