Why You Should Get an Anti-Theft Device for Your Car

An anti-theft device for cars can protect your vehicle from car thieves. Car theft is on the rise, but a car security device can help keep your vehicle where it belongs. Aside from the protection of your car, anti-theft devices might save you money on your car insurance bill. Most major companies offer an anti-theft discount, and you can ask your agent to see if your devices are eligible.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jan 4, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Anti-theft devices help protect your car by preventing the car from moving or tracking its location if it is stolen
  • Most major car insurance companies offer a discount for having an anti-theft device installed in your car
  • While some devices can be expensive, others are as affordable as $20

Buying a car is a significant investment and one you will want to protect. Many things can happen to a car, from accidents with other drivers to vandalism, or hitting an animal on the road. However, one of the most frustrating things that can happen is discovering that your car has been stolen.

Comprehensive auto insurance will cover the value of your vehicle if it is stolen. However, that doesn’t make the pain of losing your car any easier to bear.

Installing anti-theft devices in your car gives you protection from would-be thieves and may also score you a discount on your auto insurance rates.

If you want to see how much auto insurance costs with an anti-theft device discount, enter your ZIP code into our free tool to see what quotes might look like for you.

What are car anti-theft devices?

Car anti-theft systems are devices installed by manufacturers or the owner to help prevent the loss of a vehicle to theft. Car theft has been on the rise since 2020, after a period of declining crime rates. Experts suspect the increase is driven by economic hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some car security systems are easy to install yourself. Or, you can have one installed by a professional. Anti-theft devices prevent a thief from taking your car. Tracking systems help law enforcement recover it.

The following devices are some of the best on the market.

Vehicle Recovery Systems

Vehicle recovery systems help police find your vehicle after it’s been stolen. These devices use radio frequency to send signals that show the exact location of your car.

If your car is stolen, police will send radio signals to your car. The signals activate the recovery system in your car, which pings police with its location. After that, police can recover your vehicle easily.

Basic vehicle recovery systems cost around $700, though you can save money by finding sales. An upgraded unit costs about $1,000 and will alert you as soon as your car moves without the presence of your keys.

Brake Lock

You can’t move a car without being able to activate the brake. A brake lock attaches to your car’s brake pedal or steering wheel, making it so your brakes won’t work.

Brake locks are an inexpensive anti-theft device, and cost around $50.

GPS Tracking

One of the best advances for car security is the advent of smartphones. With the right device installed in your car, you can track your vehicle in real-time with your phone.

Not only can you track your car’s location, you can also set up your app to alert you if your vehicle moves. Advanced GPS trackers can even disable your car when someone tries to take it.

The hardware for a GPS tracker costs between $50 and $100, and you might have to pay a subscription fee. Some newer cars often come with GPS trackers installed and a free app for you to use.

Hidden Kill Switch

Hidden kill switches are a simple way to protect your car from thieves. The switch cuts the flow of electricity to the ignition switch of your car. Without being able to turn the car on, no one can steal it.

Kill switches are inexpensive pieces of technology that cost around $10. However, you’ll probably need to have it installed by a professional.

Steering Wheel Lock

Anti-theft steering wheel locks are simple but effective protective devices. This is a simple device that locks your steering wheel in place. Thieves won’t be able to take your car without removing the lock first, and that’s incredibly difficult.

While there’s a large range of locks out there, you can find an affordable option for around $20.

Audible Alarms

Car alarms are popular because they are proven to work. Some alarms are sensitive enough to be activated by the slightest touch. That’s enough to make most thieves leave your car alone.

Sometimes, the alarm doesn’t even have to go off. You can put a sticker advertising the presence of an alarm on a window, and that might be enough to deter thieves.

A lot of cars come with alarm systems preinstalled, but if your vehicle doesn’t have one, it will cost around $200 to install a basic system. You can find much more complex options that cost more.

Wheel Clamps

Wheel clamps lock onto your tires and make it so they can’t roll. It also makes it so thieves can’t steal your tires.

While not as convenient as other anti-theft devices, they are affordable options. You can find a wheel clamp for between $30 to $70.

VIN Etching

While not a device, VIN etching might still qualify for an anti-theft device discount. As a bonus, this is a cheap, fast option for security.

Etching your VIN onto the window of your car gives police an easy way to identify your car. This is a much more secure car identification since thieves will have to replace the windshield to remove the VIN completely.

An etcher uses a stencil to etch your VIN onto your window chemically. You can also buy an at-home kit for an even cheaper option.

Remote Locks

Remote locks are another technology connected to your smartphone and are a great way to protect your car. With a remote lock, you can lock or unlock your car from anywhere. You don’t have to leave your house in the middle of the night to check your car doors.

Again, new cars often come with a remote locking system preinstalled. If your vehicle doesn’t have one, you can get one installed for around $200.

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How does an anti-theft device save you money on car insurance?

While the most obvious reason to get an anti-theft device is to protect your vehicle against theft, you’ll also probably earn a discount on your auto insurance.

If you already have a policy, you can ask your agent if they offer a discount. The amount you save depends on the company, but you can usually find around 10%.

If you don’t have a policy, you can look for the anti-theft discount when you shop for insurance policies. Companies that offer an anti-theft device discount include:

  • State Farm
  • USAA
  • Allstate
  • Nationwide

Speak with an agent before signing up for a policy. While some discounts are available for any device, other companies require specific hardware, such as passive anti-theft devices. Sometimes, an insurance provider will require proof of car lock anti-theft systems.

Find the Best Insurance for Anti-Theft Devices

If you’ve been wondering, “What is a passive disabling device?” or how to save money on your car insurance, you can learn more about anti-theft devices by speaking with an insurance agent. The best anti-theft devices can help keep your car safe from thieves.

If you have an anti-theft device on your car, you can save money on your insurance. If you want to see what quotes might look like for you, enter your ZIP code into our free tool today.

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