Anti-theft discounts are relatively common today. After all, most vehicles come with some type of anti-theft device from the manufacturer, and many vehicle owners will install more sophisticated aftermarket ones to save further.
The discounts, however, vary depending on the insurer and the type of device. Insurance companies will reward you regardless for taking measures to prevent your car from being stolen, and it is still a viable discount opportunity to use and hopefully combine with other discounts, so you save more on your annual premium.
Anti-theft discounts typically only apply to certain portions of your insurance policy, such as your comprehensive, which covers the theft of your vehicle. Therefore, you will not see the discount applied to collision coverage.
What are the Different Types of Anti-Theft Devices?
Discounts for anti-theft devices are typically a fixed amount, but you still want to make sure you put the best anti-theft device possible, especially if you have a vehicle commonly stolen, or you live in an area with high vehicle theft rates.
Never install a device just because you assume you will save on auto insurance. Instead, consider it a bonus on top of protecting your vehicle from theft.
Passive Anti-Theft Alarms
Passive alarms are those that automatically initiate themselves once you remove the keys and close your doors. You do not have to worry about arming the alarm itself, because the vehicle detects that you have removed your keys and exited the car and will arm for you.
Passive anti-theft alarms will yield a higher discount because there is no risk of error. Even if you ran out of your car and closed the door, you have an alarm activated, which means your vehicle is less likely to be stolen than a car that requires someone to activate the alarm manually.
Active alarms are very inexpensive, and still a great way to save on your insurance premium. You can purchase them aftermarket from any auto supply chain, and once installed; you will press a bottom manually to activate the alarm after you exit the vehicle.
If you do not set the alarm by pressing the activate button, your car is not protected. Because this leaves room for error, insurers will not reward a driver with as high of a discount on this type of alarm compared to passive anti-theft devices.
Sound Only Anti-Theft Devices
Sounding alarms means that the vehicle makes noises to scare off the party that is trying to steal your car, but only when you have armed it. Often these come standard from the manufacturer on modern vehicles and include the horn honking and possibly a siren – depending on the model. You can still get a discount for a sound-only, but these devices do not have any special features that deter other than the sound. Some are easily disarmed as well.
Engine Disabling Alarms
An engine disabling alarm can come with a passive anti-theft device or an active anti-theft device and are one of the most superior types of protection for your vehicle – and generously discounted on insurance. In this case, if the alarm is activated, the engine will automatically disable, so the thief could not drive away with your car.
Tracking and Recovery Theft Devices
Tracking or recovery systems are not anti-theft devices because the car can still be stolen. However, they will point law enforcement in the direction of your vehicle once you report it stolen. Some popular models for tracking are LoJack and OnStar recovery systems. OnStar comes standard in some cars, but you must pay a subscription fee to activate it and keep the ongoing monitoring. Without the subscription, the service is disabled.
Is the Cost of the Device Worth the Savings?
Before you go out and spend thousands on an aftermarket, top-of-the-line device that arms passively and deactivates your engine, you may want to consider the actual savings potential and whether the device pays for itself.
All insurance companies reward customers for being proactive and preventing their vehicle’s theft. The amount, however, can vary. With auto thefts going down each year, thanks to high-end alarm systems, insurer discounts are also going down. On average, you can expect anywhere from 15 to 20 percent for a passive alarm system. If you have an active alarm, the discount only averages 5 to 10 percent. A tracking system combined with an active alarm, however, could save you up to 25 percent, because insurers treat them each as a separate type of discount.
Again, remember that the discount only applies to comprehensive; not collision. Comprehensive coverage is the cheaper portion of your auto insurance premium; therefore, you may not notice substantial savings, but it does add up over the year.
Lastly, every insurer is different. So, contact your insurance company first to see how much you could save before installing a device.