HARTFORD, CT (April 13, 2021) – With a sharp increase in the number of stolen vehicles across Connecticut, AAA Insurance is reminding drivers never to leave keys or key fobs in their vehicles because car theft is almost always a crime of opportunity.
According to the latest statistics provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Connecticut saw a 42% increase in stolen vehicles in 2020 as compared to 2019.
“This data matches the increase in AAA Insurance claims for stolen vehicles almost exactly,” says Sonia Medina, spokesperson for AAA Insurance in Greater Hartford. "Our cars are one of our biggest financial expenses, so having car insurance with comprehensive coverage is one way to protect that investment. Never leaving your keys in the car is another."
The data highlighting the sharp increase in car thefts comes as no surprise to police who have had to invest more resources in vehicle theft investigations.
“Week after week, we are responding to reports of stolen vehicles,” says West Hartford Police Captain Michael Perruccio. “And, more often than not, the key or key fob was left in the vehicle. We cannot say it enough. Lock your cars. Take your keys.”
The ‘Cost’ of Stolen Vehicles
According to the latest ‘Crime in Connecticut’ report from State Police, there were almost 6000 stolen vehicles in 2019, which would suggest, with the 42% increase, that there were more than 8500 vehicles stolen in 2020. According to AAA Insurance, the average claim in 2020 was almost $7000 per vehicle.
Does Insurance Pay When Keys are Left in the Car?
Maybe. Maybe not.
“Only comprehensive Insurance policies cover stolen cars” Medina says. “AAA encourages vehicle owners to review their policies with their advisors to make sure they are covered”.
Auto liability insurance is required in all 50 states, but, AAA says, coverage against theft – the comprehensive coverage – is optional.
AAA Insurance Tips for protecting your car against theft:
- Never leave your keys in the vehicle – the convenient ‘keyless’ feature is not only convenient for the car owner, it’s convenient for the thief who can steal your car with the touch of a button.
- Lock your car – even without the keys, thieves are more likely to steal a car left unlocked
- Park your vehicle in a garage or a well-lit area – at home, at the mall or on the road, always try to park in an area where suspicious activity would be noticeable.
- Keep valuables out of sight