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Warming Up Vehicle Jeopardizes Auto Insurance

Unbeknownst to most of us, warming up a vehicle before going somewhere can jeopardize your auto insurance. With winter upon us and in full force, many drivers have to resort to a number of different strategies to keep their vehicles drivable and warm. Some mornings we head out to our cars to get in, and they are frosted over with ice and we can't even see out the windows. It is a winter ritual to take extra time each day to get outside and scrape windows and get our cars warmed up before we prepare to leave. Warming up your car is good for it this time of year. It allows the fluids in your car to reach the right temperature before you put a lot of stress on the vehicle by putting it in gear and getting it moving.

Winter Ritual Can Cost You

But this winter ritual can cost you as far as auto insurance is concerned. The reasons we warm up our vehicles before heading out for the day are obvious enough. But the dangers we are creating by doing so probably are not obvious at all to most people. The fact of the matter is that when you start your car and leave it running in your driveway or the parking lot outside your building, you are creating an ideal environment for auto thieves to exploit. This might sound a bit farfetched, but it is true, and statistics bear it out. In the winter time, when drivers have to do what they can not to freeze to death on their way to work, they tend to leave their cars running and unattended for relatively long periods of time. This practice can give car thieves an easy opportunity to steal a car.

An astute would be thief will observe your behavior for several days before actually attempting to steal your car. The time of day you go outside to start your car as well as the amount of time you leave it running are both very easily observable to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. With all this readily available information right in front of them, a car thief can pull off the heist with much greater ease. They get a warmed up vehicle already running with the keys in it, and all they have to do is put the car into gear and take off. There is an unquestionable link between ease of a possible theft and rate of theft. The easier you make your car to steal, the more likely it is to get stolen. There are no two ways about it.

Car Theft Not Only Problem

If something like this ever happens to you, it is bad enough that your vehicle has been taken from you along with any personal belongings or other things that may have been in that car. Most of us would immediately call police, and then our insurance company. This the correct order of operations. The police need to know as quickly as possible that a ca has been stolen so that they can pursue the suspect to have any chance of recovering the vehicle. And your insurer needs to know so that they are aware in case the vehicle turns up crashed or anything of that nature.

But the theft itself is only your first worry in these types of cases. If you have your car stolen and it has been found that the vehicle was left running outside unattended at the time of the theft, your insurer may fight you on your comprehensive auto insurance claim. This is not always the case in every theft situation, but there are cases when an auto insurance provider will try to deny a theft claim based on the fact that as the vehicle owner, you did not do enough to deter a would be thief from preying upon you.

There is only so much we can do as auto owners to prevent car theft and not every claim will automatically be denied out of hand. But it bears thinking about when you go through your daily routine, especially in the winter when it is cold enough to warrant warming up a vehicle and dark enough in the early morning for a criminal to wait in the shadows for his opportunity to strike. Still, as a car owner and an auto insurance policy holder you do have a responsibility to make an honest effort to cut down on the chances would be thieves have to steal your car. The more difficult you can make it for thieves, the more likely they are to simply give up or move on to some other victim.

Reduce Risk of Auto Theft

Some of these ways are very simple, while others require some effort. One way we all have to help prevent auto theft is to simply not warm up our vehicles until we are outside and in sight of the car. When you go outside to scrape your windows or load up your vehicle for the day, start it up and let it warm up and idle while you are getting it ready to go. Once you are all set and everything is loaded, you can just get in and go. This may involve a few minutes worth of cold driving, but it can also cut down on the chances of getting your car stolen.

Another easy strategy for those of us who can lock and unlock our cars remotely is to leave the car warming up but locked, so that a thief would still have to break in to the car in order to go ahead and steal it. Again, auto theft in most cases is related to ease of the job. If you make it a hard task, most thieves will move on to a new victim. If you do leave your car running, make sure it is parked in front of a window so that you can keep an eye on it and make sure it is safe.

Never, ever leave your keys in your car overnight or when you are not driving it. Always take them with you and keep the car locked up. Do not leave an extra set of keys either, as they can give thieves an easy opportunity to pull off a heist. Do not make your car any more of a target than it has to be. If you have a garage, park inside and close and lock the door, and also lock the car. Make the task of stealing it difficult enough and you will not have to worry about theft at all. Any would be thief would be crazy to go through such lengths to steal your car when there are so many others with no protection.

Get a good alarm system and add things like a club on the steering wheel or other components to serve as a visible deterrent. When you understand the ways that your own actions influence the actions of car thieves, you will be able to do more to make your car more impervious to theft. Keep your car safe from auto thieves and keep your low car insurance rates.


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