Car thieves can't wait for summertime, either.
New statistics released by Progressive Insurance show nine of
the 10 worst days for car thefts come during the summer months. If
you want to hang on to your car, keep it in the garage on July 15
, which had the highest number of stolen car claims.
Progressive's claims data from 2012 revealed car thefts spiked
15 percent in the dog days of summer. July had the highest
percentage of theft claims, with August coming in second and June
rounding out the top three.
Today -- Aug. 12 -- made the top 10 list.
Car thieves also love working weekends, Progressives data found
that cars were most likely to be stolen on Sunday, with Saturday
Progressive also looked at recovery rates. Nationwide, once your
car is gone, you have a 46 percent chance of getting it back,
Progressive says. But recoveries vary dramatically by state.
If you are lucky enough to live in Washington, there is a good
chance your car will be recovered; 71 percent of cars stolen there
are recovered. On the other end of the spectrum is Michigan, where
you have just a 19 percent chance of ever seeing your ride
The highest recovery rates were:
- Washington (71%)
- Utah (63%)
- South Dakota (61%)
- Nevada (61%)
- California (60%)
The worst recovery rates were:
- Michigan (19%)
- Pennsylvania (26%)
- Arkansas (28%)
- Alabama (28%)
- Mississippi (29%)
Don't make car theft easy
Car thieves tend to be lazy and not too picky, says Todd
Golling, a former Virginia state trooper who is now a theft claims
trainer for Progressive. His advice: Make your car as inconvenient
"In my experience, thieves are opportunistic and go for
whichever car is the easiest target. If they see things like alarm
stickers, gas cap locks or steering wheel locks, they're more
likely to move on to the next car, regardless of make or model,"
Golling recommends being extra careful if your car is going to
be parked anyplace for a long time. Sports venues, concerts and
churches tend to be prime targets for thieves, he says. That goes
double for the items inside your vehicle. An iPod left in plain
sight is just asking to be stolen.
Additional precautions from Golling:
- Lock your car every time.
- Remove all items from your car at a hotel. Thieves look for
- When shopping, cover your purchases with a blanket.
- Never keep spare keys to your car or house in your car.
- Use locking gas caps and engine immobilizers to make a
thief's job difficult.
Having your car stolen may not be as bad on your car insurance
rates as you think. According to Penny Gusner, consumer analyst
with Carinsurance.com, comprehensive claims often have no affect on
your rates because they are usually not your fault.
But if you have an older car -- especially the 1990s-eras Hondas
and Toyotas that are special favorites -- you may long ago have
dropped comprehensive and collision. In that case, you can only
wait and hope that police recover the car. (For more on when to
consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverages, click