How to prevent car theft
It's easy to forget how much we rely on our cars - until yours is gone. Car theft is a common crime in New Zealand, so here are a few tips to help reduce the risk.
That sinking feeling you get as you look into the empty driveway where your car was parked last night - it's more common than you think. Car theft is on the rise in New Zealand, with 5,500 cars, motorbikes, trucks, trailers, and utes, stolen in NZ between December 2022 and May 2023. This is up 22% from the same period last year.¹
Having your car stolen is a major pain and often leaves you stranded. Car thieves will tend to go for the easy target, but you can help protect your car by using anti-theft measures to deter them.
So how do you make your car less appealing to thieves and harder to steal to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of car theft?
Here are a few suggestions from our friends over at NZ Police.²
Invest in an anti-theft system
These can range from a simple steering wheel lock to a full alarm system that will alert the entire neighbourhood and immobilise your car. The type that’s best for you will depend on how much you want to spend and how easy to steal or desirable your car is.
Ensure your car has an immobiliser
Stealing a car that has an immobiliser requires a specific piece of technology that the average car thief won’t have. Therefore, the percentage of vehicles stolen that are fitted with a working immobiliser is minimal. The majority of new vehicles come factory-fitted with immobilisers, If this isn't the case for your car, consider getting one installed. It’s a relatively cost-effective way to safeguard your vehicle - which may be less than the cost of your insurance excess.
Fake it till you make it
If your budget won't stretch to the real thing, giving the impression that you have an alarm system will sometimes be enough to deter thieves. Stickers on windows or flashing LEDs on the dashboard can be all it takes. Clever, huh?
Always lock your car
Sure, that seems a bit obvious, but it can take just seconds for a thief to drive away with your car (and the valuables you keep inside it), even from your driveway.
Never leave your keys in your unattended car
This is a no-no, not even for a brief moment. If you keep your house keys on the same keychain, a thief could have both your car and access to your house. Yikes!
Avoid leaving valuable stuff in your car
Laptops, phones, sunnies and other high-cost valuables are magnets for thieves. If you have to leave them there, make sure they’re out of sight.
Consider your parking spot
Parking your car off-street or in a garage, if available, is the safest choice. However, if this is not an option, park in areas that have good visibility and lots of foot traffic. Take a look at our blog 'Where's the best place to safely park your car?' for a list of do's and don'ts.
You're more vulnerable to theft at night, so it pays to be aware of your surroundings. Park in a well-lit, busy space, and make sure before you get out of your car that the area is safe. Have your keys ready and on hand for when you get to your car so you can pop straight in - and remember to keep your windows and doors locked once you're in the car and driving.³
Wondering which cars are most commonly stolen?
If you own one of the below models⁴ or are considering buying one, we recommend you consider adding an immobiliser to reduce the chance of it being stolen.
- Toyota Aqua
- Mazda Demio
- Nissan Tiida
- Mazda Atenza
- Toyota Mark X
- Toyota Vitz
- Subaru Legacy
- Toyota Corolla
- Subaru Impreza
- Mazda Familia
Need to make a claim?
Finally, if you're ever approached directly by someone looking to steal your car, avoid a confrontation - your safety's far more important than your wheels and you should call Police immediately on 111 so they can handle it.
*Please make sure you read the policy wording and cover documents to understand the terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions that may apply.