Car Insurance Basics

Is A Car Alarm A Viable Antitheft Device?


November 12, 2014

Motor insurance providers take into account existing antitheft devices to decide on how much to pay for a stolen car. Car alarms are the most common type of antitheft devices found in cars today. Their ubiquitous nature arises from their effectiveness as antitheft devices. Despite their widespread usage, cars fitted with sophisticated car alarms still get stolen, and some are never recovered. This begs the question, just how effective are car alarms?

Two thieves can effectively gain access to your car and immobilise the alarm in about 5 seconds. Here’s how. One thief breaks the driver’s window (Triggering the alarm), and then gets into the driver’s side and pops the bonnet open. The other thief opens the bonnet, locates the siren, and cuts the wire to the siren. Your car alarm has been manually disabled! From there, all they need to do is to figure out how to start the car, and you car is gone. This situation can be avoided by placing the alarm somewhere difficult to access to increase the time it will take a thief to find and disconnect it.

Car alarms are effective under the following circumstances. First, the car must be somewhere where the alarm can be heard. If you pack far from an inhabited area, or in a busy industrial zone that has loud noises, your alarm may not reach the ears of anyone who can do something about it. Secondly, car alarms work only if they have been activated. If you fail to lock your car using the alarm key, then your alarm system isn’t active and it cannot give you the protection you need. Thirdly, car alarms are usually effective as a signal that something is wrong. The alarm in itself cannot stop the thieves from proceeding with the theft. If for instance the thieves are interested in a bag inside your car, they could break the window and pick the bag as the alarm continues to ring. Alarms on their own raise an alert, and usually do nothing more. Someone else must come to the aid of your car if at all a theft is in progress

On the other hand, car alarms can be very effective if you park your car in a well patronised area such as a busy street, a mall, or in a busy neighbourhood. Once it starts ringing, it will attract the attention of people to the car, and thieves are likely to flee. Alarms are also effective deterrents when they are used as part of the security system of your car. If the car is also fitted with an immobilizer, the alarm will make the thieves uneasy, and even if they are able to get into the car, they would not be calm enough to find and remove the immobilizer because of the initial alarm raised by the car alarm.

When you rely on your car alarm as an antitheft device, beware of its limitations and its strengths. Do not at any time fail to take general precautions regarding the security of your car. Also, remember that it is better to have a car alarm because its presence in your car as an antitheft device will reduce the excess you will pay to your motor insurance provider in case your car is stolen. 


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