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How do I prevent keyless car theft?

Some keyless cars are easier to steal without added security in place.

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As keyless-entry cars become more popular on the road, news stories have surfaced finding many car models are more susceptible to a simple type of theft using cheap technology. But there are several safety precautions you can take to help prevent your keyless car from becoming an easy target.

Are keyless-entry cars easier to steal?

It depends on the manufacturer and model. Some research companies have listed hundreds of keyless car models with a higher potential for theft. However, there’s little data showing that US keyless-entry cars get stolen more often overall.

For example, multiple car models named on the 2019 Highway Loss Data Institute’s most stolen cars list happen to be keyless-entry models. Those include the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Dodge Charger HEMI, Infiniti Q50 four-door and Infiniti QX80.

However, not all keyless-entry cars show high theft rates. The Lincoln MKS comes standard with this feature but sees a theft range from .80 to 1.50 per 100,000 cars made, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2014 Toyota Prius also comes standard with keyless entry but with a theft rate of .37 per 100,000 cars. The median for all cars is around 3.60 cars.

Why are keyless cars less secure than other cars?

Many car models are susceptible to theft using a simple signal relaying device that extends the signal of your keyless fob. The extended signal can be used to unlock your car, and the process can be repeated to start the ignition. However, there’s little information on whether these cars are being stolen more often across all keyless-entry models, as of June 2, 2020.

How to prevent keyless car theft

To help prevent thieves from lifting your car, choose from several options:

  • Faraday pouch. These pouches prevent wireless satellite, Bluetooth, cell phone or Wi-Fi signals from connecting with any device inside the bag.
  • Off switch.If your key fob has a manual switch, turning it off can keep devices from tapping your fob’s signal
  • Antitheft or GPS tracking. Install a car alarm and GPS tracking device if your car doesn’t already have them installed.
  • Steering wheel lock.This visible lock attaches to your steering wheel and prevents the wheel from turning. Although an experienced thief could break through, it would take extra time and effort to do so, and can act as a theft deterrent.
  • Switch to a standard key. Standard car keys without the keyless entry option are usually cheaper in addition to being harder to trick.

Does car insurance cover keyless car theft?

Yes, insurance covers car theft if you buy comprehensive coverage. The add-on protects your car for theft, vandalism, storm damage and other noncollision accidents.

To file a claim after a theft, you’ll need to report the situation to the police. Get a copy of the police report, then file a claim with your car insurance company. An insurance adjuster may schedule a meeting to go over details of the theft.

If the claim gets approved and your car’s not recovered, you’ll receive a settlement offer to cover your car’s actual cash value. You can accept the offer or negotiate the amount if you feel your car is worth more. The entire process could take several weeks, so you may need another car — like a rental — in the meantime.

What types of theft does car insurance cover?

Comprehensive coverage can kick in for these burglary situations:

  • Keyless car theft
  • Stolen car parts
  • Damage to a recovered car
  • Damaged parts due to a break-in

Does car insurance cost more for keyless cars?

Your car insurance premium could cost more if insurance companies saw an increased theft rate for your car model.
However, many of these cars have similar theft rates as cars with manual keys. In these cases, expect the rates to stick to the national average, which is around $1,300 per year or $108 per month.

Compare car insurance for keyless cars

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Progressive
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Discover coverage that’s broader than competitors, valuable discounts up to 30% off and perks like shrinking deductibles that reward no claims.
Allstate
13%
All 50 states
Your dedicated agent can help you find the best savings with multiple discounts and rewards programs.
EverQuote
EverQuote
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Roll in a variety of car insurance quotes from top insurers despite a high-risk driving profile, and view possible discounts while you’re at it.
Liberty Mutual
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Earn free accident forgiveness after five years claims-free and customize your policy anytime online at the tap of a button.
Esurance
40%
All states except AK, DE, HI, MT, NH, VT, WY
Take advantage of this online company's low base rates and mobile tools like app-based telematics and teen safe driver programs.
Metromile
Optional
49%
AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA
Pay only for the miles you drive, plus enjoy app services you won’t find everywhere like claims and car health updates.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Although not all keyless cars show high theft rates, you should to protect yours in any way possible. Along with antitheft security, consider which car insurance companies offer the best comprehensive coverage available.

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