Summer brings warmer weather, beach trips, and adventure but unfortunately, summer also correlates with a higher rate of auto theft across the country. Many think higher-end luxury vehicles would be the most targeted, but vehicles like 1990’s Hondas and early 2000’s pickup trucks have the highest rates of theft.
Older, popular vehicles like Hondas are particularly vulnerable to theft as the key slots wear down over time and can be easily picked with a skeleton key (a device that acts as a master key for loose or older locks).
San Diego-based Metromile customer Danielle couldn’t believe it when her 90’s Honda was stolen over a holiday weekend but knew she could turn to Metromile for help. We spoke with Danielle to hear more about what happened and how she recovered her car so quickly thanks to the Metromile app and Pulse device.
Recently, you had your car stolen. Can you share how it happened?
Over Memorial Day Weekend, my family and I were using our car for various errands throughout the weekend and parked it right outside our apartment on Sunday night. We got up the next morning ready to do some holiday shopping but as we walked out of our apartment, we noticed our car wasn’t where we had parked it the night before. At first, we thought we had just misremembered, but my partner was adamant he had parked the car in front of our apartment and that’s when we realized it had been stolen.
We immediately called the police and while my partner was explaining what had happened to the dispatcher, I realized we could try locating the car with the Metromile Pulse device. I opened up my Metromile app and sure enough, the car was close by. While my partner was still on the phone with the police, I took our second car over to where the Metromile app said it was, and sure enough, we found it parked only a few blocks away from our home.
What happened next?
Once we got to our car, we called the police back and had them meet us at the car to inspect it before we attempted to drive it. The police filed a report for the stolen car and then added that it was recovered so we had an official account of the incident. They then proceeded to inspect the vehicle for any damage, dangerous items, or evidence as to who stole it. Once they finished, they had us use our backup key to see if it would turn it on. Luckily it did, and we drove it back to our home without any problem.
Following the police officers’ advice, we immediately called a locksmith to repair the ignition barrel (part of the ignition switch and key slot used to turn on the car) since it had been damaged during the heist. From the moment we realized the car was stolen to when we had the ignition barrel fixed after recovering it only took a matter of hours. The best part was that thanks to the Metromile app, we didn’t have to replace the car – it was just fabulous!
Certain makes/models seem to be targeted more than others, do you have advice for other drivers of vulnerable vehicles?
Yes! Here’s what I learned from the locksmith:
- Invest in an anti-theft device, such as audible alarms, steering wheel locks, brake locks, or a kill switch. While anti-theft devices can still be picked, anything that’s going to add extra time to the process of stealing is a huge deterrent as thieves prefer vehicles that are quick and easy to steal.
- Contact the police regardless: even If you’re able to find your stolen car yourself, always call the police and have them conduct a safety inspection before you turn it on and attempt to drive it away. You never know what happened while your car was gone or what hazardous material could remain. And, they might find evidence that leads them to the criminals who stole it.
Not sure if your vehicle is particularly vulnerable to car theft? Check out NHTSA’s auto theft risk calculator to learn more about your car’s make/model. You can also check out Metromile’s blog for steps you can take to protect your vehicle.
The bottom line
As Danielle experienced, bad things can happen to your car, even when you think it’s safely parked. That’s why it’s important to have the right amount of coverage and auto insurance you can rely on. Metromile has often reunited drivers with their lost or stolen vehicles, with an approximately 90% stolen vehicle recovery rate thanks to the Metromile Pulse device.*
Not sure if Metromile is a fit for you? Take a Ride Along™ to try before you buy. Download the Metromile app and get a free auto insurance quote. You’ll keep your current coverage and drive as you typically would for about two weeks. Then, we’ll consider your actual driving to provide you with an accurate rate. You could even save up to an additional 15% off your quote in select states for your safe driving.
*As of February 2021