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What Hot Cars and California Have in Common with Insurance Rates

Whenever you think of hot cars, exotic and domestic, the Golden State comes to mind as home to many of the finest cars in the world. Unfortunately, along with that impressive distinction comes a precautionary warning – pay extra attention to your precious set of wheels if you live in California. Auto insurance companies are fully aware of the risks involved in owning a flashy and expensive ride. Not only is repairing such a vehicle more costly to insurers, but replacing one in the event it catches the eye of an auto thief can be even more so.

According to statistics, California claims nine of the top 10 rankings for locations listed as “hot spots” for auto thieves on the West Coast. The rankings, based on data obtained in 2013 by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), showed that the state continues to draw the mass attention of would-be auto thieves.

The NICB typically researches auto theft data in every U.S. metropolitan area to comprise statistics, consisting of high-theft cities and their surrounding counties. In turn, auto insurance companies use these findings to determine premium rates in particular areas. For this reason alone, what you pay for your auto insurance can be quite a bit higher than in lower risk locations.

The 10 most vulnerable metro areas with the highest auto theft rates were:

1. Bakersfield, California
2. Fresno, California
3. Modesto, California
4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
5. Stockton-Lodi, California
6. Redding, California
7. Spokane-Spokane Valley, Washington
8. Vallejo-Fairfield, California
9. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
10. Yuba City, California

While the report showed that nationwide vehicle thefts were on the decline in 2013, after a slight increase the previous year, California still managed to take top honors for auto thefts.

By implementing a few wise tips suggested by the NICB, you can reduce your risk of becoming a victim of auto theft. Their recommended four “layers of protection” include:

• Use common sense – In other words, don’t leave your doors unlocked, windows open, or keys in the ignition.
• Alarm device – New cars commonly come with a factory installed anti-theft alarm. The more expensive and exotic your vehicle, the more sophisticated your alarm should be.
• Immobilizing device – An ignition or fuel-kill switch.
• Tracking device – LoJack, OnStar or other tracking system that allows your vehicle’s location to be quickly pinpointed by law enforcement agencies should your vehicle be stolen.

Of course, you can’t possibly predict if or when an auto thief will strike and drive off with your pride and joy, but precautions are definitely something that shouldn’t be ignored. And, every effort should be taken to reduce your chances of losing your vehicle this way.

The hassle associated with auto theft and recovery of your vehicle can consume many precious hours as well as be extremely frustrating while waiting for your insurance company to settle a payout that you feel is fair and comes close to compensating you for your loss.

It’s a matter of prevention. The more your care about your vehicle the more you’re likely to keep it safe, by not tempting auto thieves. While you can’t completely eliminate auto theft, you can do your part to reduce it, simply by taking the necessary precautions.

You may also want to take precautions that you’re not paying too much for your premiums by making sure you’re getting the best rate on your auto insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?

If you own an expensive or exotic vehicle – what precautions are you taking to protect it from auto thieves? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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