The FBI estimates that vehicle theft occurs every 42.8 seconds, and according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the cars at risk are more common than you might think. Why is that? Well, many stolen cars end up in chop shops, which are garages where cars are stripped down and sold for parts. Because certain cars are more in demand, they’re often the target of thieves looking to make a quick buck.

The following were the most stolen cars in 2013:

Most stolen make and model


1. Honda Accord 1996
2. Honda Civic 1998
3. Chevrolet Pickup (full-size) 1999
4. Ford Pickup (full-size) 2006
5. Toyota Camry 1991
6. Dodge Pickup (full-size) 2004
7. Dodge Caravan 2000
8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee 2000
9. Toyota Corolla 2004
10. Nissan Altima 1997

In 2012, the NICB also reported that 8 of the 10 most popular cities for vehicle theft were in California. Modesto, Fresno, and Bakersfield top the list, while San Francisco and San Jose fall into the sixth and seventh slots.

Whether you live in sunny California and drive a ′97 Accord or reside in a New Jersey suburb and drive a 2012 Sentra, consider these tips to help prevent vehicle theft and keep you covered if it happens.

Park smart to prevent car theft

No matter where you park, always scan your seats, center console, and car stereo to make sure that no personal items are in plain view. This includes MP3 player auxiliary cords, spare change, and the smartphone you accidentally leave in the car from time to time.

Even if someone isn’t looking to steal your car, there are people who’d think nothing of shattering your window for something you left on your seat. Do a double take to confirm your doors are locked, and if you park on the street, try to find a spot in a well-lit area.

Invest in anti-theft features

From the anti-theft features in your car to high-tech add-ons, there are many ways to help prevent vehicle theft. In addition to the obvious benefits of these features, taking precautionary measures to protect your vehicle might also save you money on your insurance policy.

Consider these anti-theft features for your ride:

VIN etching

Fairly cheap and enormously effective, VIN etching permanently marks your windows or other car parts with your unique vehicle identification number. This could help prevent your car from being swiped by someone looking to cash in at a chop shop. Since chop shops generally won’t accept parts stamped with a VIN for fear they could be traced, your vehicle will likely be safe from anyone looking to make a quick buck off your car.

Tracking device

A tracking device dramatically increases the likelihood of recovering your car should it be stolen. Utilizing GPS and wireless technology, a tracking device can enable you to pinpoint the exact location of your vehicle from your home computer. Some tracking devices can also be set up to send a signal to police, alerting them at the moment of the crime and letting them know just where to find the culprit — and your car.

If you prefer a one-step solution you can buy at the store, a steering wheel lock can be a great deterrent to would-be thieves who don’t want to exert the extra effort. Just a peek at your windshield will tell anyone that nabbing your car won’t be an easy feat.

Keep yourself covered in case of car theft

While comprehensive coverage is optional for your vehicle, it’s essential in ensuring the impact of vehicle theft is as minimal as possible should the worst case occur. With comprehensive coverage, you won’t be left without a ride after your car is stolen since it can help cover a rental car and even contribute to the cost of replacing your vehicle. Make sure you’re never left stranded: get a quote today.

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about Emily Rose

During her time at Esurance, when Emily was not giving the nitty gritty details of insurance a much needed makeover, she enjoyed scouring thrift shops for cool vintage finds and taking her role as a proud Pom mom much too seriously.