Having a warm car not worth having it stolen

Warming up your car may be part of your morning routine, especially during the winter months when your windshield is frosted and your leather seats are cold.

And getting out of bed five minutes earlier to sit in your car while it warms up just doesn’t sound fun. We get it.

But abandoning your car to warm up can attract attention. The wrong kind of attention.

A 2016 study from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) found that Ohio has the eighth highest rate of car thefts. Just last year, thefts of vehicles in the U.S. rose by more than four percent, according to preliminary crime data from the FBI.

The reason? Rising costs of parts.

The NICB says today’s vehicles are loaded with expensive parts and technology that increase the costs of repairs, even in what may be considered a minor accident. And those expensive parts will continue to drive car thefts as criminals steal cars and trucks to strip them and sell the parts on the black market.

“For the professional theft ring, stealing and stripping vehicles for parts has always been a lucrative business,” said NICB Senior Vice President and COO Jim Schweitzer. “On today’s cars and trucks, the parts are often worth more than the intact vehicle and may be easier to move and sell. That’s why we see so many thefts of key items like wheels and tires and tailgates … there’s always a market for them.

While there isn’t coverage that can help ease the pain of explaining how your car was stolen, there is coverage for its actual theft under these circumstances. Stolen vehicles are covered under the comprehensive (other than collision) portion of an auto insurance policy. This is an optional coverage that protects insured vehicles in situations other than a collision or overturn.


Don’t leave your car idle — it’s also the law

Aside from the risk of having your vehicle stolen, it’s also in violation of state law, which was enacted in 2004, if you leave a car running while unattended and you can be cited.

Ohio’s Revised Code (ORC) 4511.661 states: No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition,  effectively setting the parking brake, and, when the motor vehicle is standing upon any  grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway…

Many Ohio municipalities have also established similar ordinances that carry a fine. Such laws are written, in part, to discourage the seemingly innocent but often risky practice of warming up a car while unattended. Not only is there a risk of theft, but also there are safety concerns such as the vehicle shifting into gear and rolling, or emissions exposure. Below are examples of some of Ohio’s city codes pertaining to unattended vehicles.

Ohio city code examples:
Columbus code: Sec. 2151.08 – Unattended vehicles; setting brakes and key removal
Akron code: Sec. 76.13 – Condition when motor vehicle left unattended
Cincinnati code: Sec. 508-31 – Parking so as to create obstruction prohibited
Cleveland Heights code: Sec. 351.07 – Unattended vehicle
Toledo code: Sec 351.02 – Unattended vehicle
Sylvania code: Sec. 351.07 – Unattended vehicle

Check out more tips to avoid auto theft from some of our members:

Allstate (@Allstate): 10 Tips to Avoid Car Theft
Progressive (@Progressive): Vehicle Theft Prevention Tips
GEICO (@GEICO): How to Prevent Your Car From Being Stolen

Additional Resource:

National Insurance Crime Bureau: Prevent Auto Theft