July is a Hot Month for Car Break-ins

More Texas vehicles are broken into and/or stolen during the month of July than any other time of year, according to Allstate Insurance Company. The insurer looked at Texas auto claims data over the last five years (2013-2017) and identified July as the highest month for both car break-ins (personal items stolen from inside a car) and total car thefts. Allstate encourages consumers to lock their vehicles and hide their belongings when they’re are out and about this summer.

“Whether you are out running everyday errands or taking a road trip this summer, it’s important to protect your vehicle and belongings from unwanted attention.” says Chris Lewis an Allstate agency owner in Austin. “Leaving valuables in plain sight or leaving your car running for a few minutes can make it a potential target.”

Top Items for the Taking

While July is also the highest month for total vehicle thefts, in-vehicle thefts were more common overall in Texas from 2013-2017. In-vehicle theft is not stealing the entire car; it’s the smash-and-grab of items left inside. Texas police say top items on a thieves’ shopping list include laptop computers, purses, wallets, smart phones and tablets.

Tips to Turn off Thieves

  1. Lock It Up and Roll ‘Em Up – An unlocked door or rolled-down window gives thieves fast access to everything in the car. Also, never leave your vehicle running or the smart key inside the car when it is left unattended.
  2. Look Around – Park in well-lit areas of the parking lot or street. Look for safety benefits like security cameras or pedestrian activity. Lights, cameras and law-abiding citizens are turn-offs for thieves.
  3. Hide it First or Take It Along – If it’s too bulky to keep in your possession, store valuable items in the trunk of the car or out of sight—and do it before you park. Waiting to hide valuables until you’ve arrived can allow a thief to watch where you stow your stuff.
  4. Deter Thieves – Consider installing an audible alarm system and a visible anti-theft device. Car thieves tend to avoid cars with alarms or anti-theft devices because they attract attention when they go off. Check in with your insurance provider, you may receive a discount on your auto insurance for some of these devices.

Understand your insurance coverage

In the unfortunate event items from your car or the car itself are stolen, it’s important to understand your insurance coverage. Comprehensive auto insurance typically covers vandalism to your vehicle or replacement value for the stolen car. Generally, that’s only if what’s stolen was factory-installed. Personal property inside or on the car— bikes, cell phones, backpacks—is typically covered by homeowners, renters or condo policies. Apartment dwellers can find themselves unprotected if they don’t have renters insurance.

Allstate encourages Texans who have questions about prevention tips or their auto insurance coverage to reach out to their local insurance agent.