My car

Ways to reduce your risk of car theft

30 January 2023

Even though hotwiring doesn’t work in modern cars, there are a few other methods would-be car thieves might use – and they’re often a lot simpler than the ones you might see in the movies.

But because car theft techniques can be pretty simple – preventing it can be pretty simple, too.

Common reasons for car theft

Easy-to-find keys

A whopping 70% of cars are stolen with their own keys, with 50% of all thefts happening from the home1.

This may be because the common places people store their keys, like on a hook by the door or a bowl on the table, are the first places any car thief would check.

Leaving valuables in your car

If you can easily see a valuable item from outside your vehicle, so can a potential thief. Consider taking your valuables, like your phone or tablet, with you when you’re out of your car. Alternatively, storing them out of sight, like in your glovebox or under the seat, could do the trick.

Poor car security

This can be a big contributor to car theft, especially in older cars. These cars often lack modern features like engine immobilisers, security alarms, or inbuilt vehicle tracking devices.

Joyriding, not onselling

This may come as a surprise, but more often than not a car isn’t stolen because it is particularly valuable – according to 77% of car thefts are for short-term, non-value related joyrides or are for use in another crime.

How to protect your car from theft

Keep your keys safe

This can be as simple as removing them from your car when not in use and storing them somewhere safe and out of sight. This can be in a cupboard drawer, or in a tucked-away corner – just not in the first place you think!

Keep car doors locked

This one might seem obvious, but leaving your car doors unlocked makes the car that much easier to steal. And this doesn’t just apply to your car doors, either. Consider locking your home doors too, whether you’re home or not.

Choose secure parking when able

If the option is available, consider parking off-street and in a locked garage. Just by keeping your vehicle out of sight, you may reduce the risk of it becoming a target.

Use car theft prevention devices

This is particularly relevant for those older cars that may not have all the built-in gadgets that a modern version does. If you have the option, consider installing deterrent devices. Even something as simple as a car alarm or steering wheel lock can do a lot. The sight of a lock can be enough to convince a thief to move on to an easier target, and the sound of the alarm can often be enough to scare them off.

Consider making sure you’re insured against theft

Even with every precaution, cars may still be damaged or stolen. Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance or Suncorp Fire & Theft Insurance can cover your car against damage and theft. If an insured car is stolen, it may be repaired or replaced depending on its state when or if it is recovered. Check the PDS to find out more about how claims are settled.

Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance also covers more than just that, with benefits including (but not limited to):

  • cover for malicious damage or vandalism
  • lifetime repair guarantee for repairs authorised by Suncorp, and
  • two year new for old replacement for a car following a total loss*.

To learn more about what’s included at what isn’t, be sure to read over the PDS.

Explore Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance

What if my car is stolen and I have no insurance?

The first thing to do is to call the police and inform them so they can keep a lookout for your stolen vehicle.

They’ll file a stolen car report, so be sure to have some key information on hand. This includes:

  • make
  • model
  • license plate number, and
  • if possible, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Don’t forget to also include notes on any items that may have been inside. Hopefully, with this information, the police can quickly find your stolen vehicle. With no insurance, any damage or replacements will have to be paid for out of pocket.

1 Car Theft Facts |

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*Your car becomes a total loss if it is uneconomical or unsafe to repair, including where the combined repair costs and salvage value are likely to be more than the amount covered by your policy. If your car is a total loss (which includes where your car is stolen and unrecovered after 14 days and we accept your claim for theft), and is less than 2 years old and you're the first registered owner, we'll replace your car with a new one of the same or similar make and model. Eligible customers only.

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it's appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.