If your car gets stolen, it’ll be a major inconvenience for you and a major cost for your insurance company. 

To help prevent theft, many new vehicles come with anti-theft devices built in, and there are also options you can add if your car doesn’t yet have anti-theft protection. 

Most car insurance companies provide a discount to drivers who have anti-theft devices installed. In fact, 12 states require that insurance providers give discounts to comprehensive coverage customers who have an anti-theft device. The discount typically amounts to about 15 to 20 percent of the cost of comprehensive coverage. 

However, every auto insurance provider is different. To ensure you get the best deal on your policy, taking into account all the discounts you qualify for, use Insurify to compare car insurance rates across providers. You’ll let us know some information about yourself and your vehicle, including details about your anti-theft device, and we’ll show you the car insurance companies that can offer the lowest premiums. 

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Car Insurance and Theft 

Liability coverage and collision insurance won’t protect you against theft. Only comprehensive coverage provides reimbursement for non-collision incidents, such as a break-in, vandalism, or a stolen vehicle. This type of coverage is optional, but if you have it, you’ll generally be protected up to the actual cash value of your car in case of theft. 

After filing a police report, you’ll file a claim with your insurance company. They’ll reimburse you for the actual cash value of your car, minus your deductible. You should research your car’s value to make sure you agree with the amount your insurance adjuster offers. Some insurance companies also offer rental car reimbursement as an add-on. If your car is stolen, rental car reimbursement can be essential for getting to work and maintaining your lifestyle. 

Fewer than half of stolen cars in the U.S. are recovered, and even those that make it back to their owners often sustain damage or have parts stolen. Liability and collision insurance won’t help you with those charges, either. 

If you want reimbursement for any incident, your best bet is to purchase comprehensive coverage. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; you can use Insurify to find a provider that offers comprehensive insurance at the lowest possible premium. 

The Best Anti-Theft Devices 

There are several types of anti-theft devices, and some are more complex and expensive than others. They range from theft deterrents, such as etching your vehicle identification number on the glass of your vehicle to discourage car thieves, to more advanced security systems

It’s also a common joke that driving a stick shift vehicle is like having a “millennial anti-theft device,” since most millennials are assumed to have experience only with automatic transmissions. While there may be some truth to the humor, we definitely don’t suggest this type of anti-theft device as a replacement for comprehensive coverage. 

Active Anti-Theft Devices 

Unlike the anti-theft devices built into some cars, manual anti-theft devices must be physically enabled by the vehicle’s owner. These include devices such as:

  • The steering wheel lock, a visible device that can deter thieves from even trying to steal your car. It immobilizes the vehicle’s steering wheel to make it impossible to drive. A popular brand is The Club from Winner International, which costs around $50.
  • The tire lock, also known as a boot or security tire clamp, which law enforcement officers often use to immobilize vehicles for violations. They can also be used by car owners to prevent theft. These go for around $50 and up.
  • The brake lock or brake pedal jack, which prevents the brake pedal or clutch pedal from being depressed so the car can’t be driven. It also costs around $50. 
  • The kill switch, which is intended to disable the electrical system in the event of theft. It turns on when the car is locked, and the driver must turn it off before driving. If a thief attempts to steal your car without following the necessary steps to turn off the kill switch, it’ll cut off the flow of electricity to your vehicle. You can buy one to install yourself for about $25, but if you need someone to install it for you, you’ll likely pay closer to $100. 

Automatic Anti-Theft Systems

Many new cars come with theft-prevention devices built right into the vehicle. These include car key security devices, such as transponder keys, a popular vehicle anti-theft device that comes with most new cars. Between 1995 and 2008, these gadgets decreased incidents of theft by about 40 percent. They’re effective because they won’t allow the vehicle to be driven without the presence of the owner’s key. The only downside is that they are expensive to replace if lost or stolen. 

Car alarm systems, on the other hand, aren’t very effective, mostly because these loud alarms are sensitive enough to go off by mistake. Passersby are unlikely to pay attention to the warning sound simply because they hear it so often. For this reason, car alarms aren’t included in most new vehicles. 

Vehicle Tracking and Recovery Systems

While these tracking devices don’t prevent theft, they can help you get your vehicle back, which will reduce the hassle and the cost burden of the incident. Some options for tracking systems include:

  • A GPS tracker, which you can purchase for around $40. Whether you suspect your car was stolen or just lost it in the parking lot of the mall, you’ll be able to track your car with your phone.
  • Subscription services, such as OnStar, which has security plans starting at $25/month. The company can remotely prevent your car’s engine from starting if it has been stolen, along with providing tracking capabilities. 
  • Vehicle recovery devices, such as LoJack, which will alert you by phone or email if someone tries to drive your car without the required key fob. It also uses radio-frequency technology to recover 90 percent of customers’ stolen vehicles. LoJack systems cost between $695 and $995. 

These devices not only provide peace of mind, but they can also help you snag an attractive discount on your car insurance policy. 

Car Insurance Companies with Anti-Theft Device Discounts 

Car Insurance Company Typical Discount
Allstate Varies
American Family Varies
Esurance 5% to 25%
Farmers Varies
GEICO Up to 25% off
Liberty Mutual Varies
Nationwide Varies
Safeco Varies
State Farm Varies

Protect Your Car With an Affordable Car Insurance Policy

To protect yourself against the financial loss of theft, you’ll need comprehensive coverage. But preparing for the unexpected doesn’t have to break the bank. With Insurify, you can compare customized quotes for comprehensive coverage across car insurance providers, which will include an anti-theft discount if you’re eligible. 

The process of gathering customized quotes from individual insurance companies is painstaking. But with Insurify, you just need to enter your information once, and you’ll be able to see rates from up to 20 different car insurance providers. It’s the easiest way to get the lowest premium for the coverage you need.

Updated October 14, 2020

Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based personal finance writer for Insurify. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree and FinanceBuzz. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors with her rescue pup, playing music, or listening to audiobooks.