The Best Car Anti Theft Devices to Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Vehicle anti theft devices don’t only protect your car, they could also earn you a worthwhile discount on your car insurance. Here's a guide on the best anti-theft devices for your car.
Written by Emily Richey
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Most insurance providers offer discounts to customers who have comprehensive coverage and install an anti theft device in their vehicle.
The discount is typically around 15 to 20 percent of the cost of
comprehensive coverage
. Here’s what you need to know about the best vehicle anti theft devices and how they can get you a discount.
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The best anti theft devices

There are several types of anti theft devices—ranging from pre-installed car alarms to advanced security systems—designed to alert you if anything unusual happens to your car.
Remember—although anti theft devices are recommended, they are not a replacement for comprehensive coverage.

Manual anti theft devices

While some anti theft devices are built into your car, manual devices require drivers to install the device. Manual anti theft devices include:
Steering wheel locks are unconcealed devices that lock your steering wheel into place, making your car impossible to drive. These typically cost around $50.
Car wheel clamps, also called tire boots or tire locks, are devices often used by cops and law enforcement to immobilize cars. When the tire lock is on, your tire can’t rotate or turn. These devices start around $50.
Brake locks easily attach to the brake pedal and prevent thieves from driving away with your car. Some brake locks attach to the steering wheel, which prevents thieves from using the steering wheel or the brake pedal. You can purchase one for $50.
A kill switch will completely disable your car’s electrical system during an attempted theft. Once your car is locked, the kill switch turns on and must be turned off again in order to drive. If a thief tries to steal your car without the necessary steps, it will cut off your car’s electricity. You can install a kill switch yourself for around $25, but it will cost closer to $100 if installed by a professional.
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Automatic anti theft devices

Most new cars come with built-in security devices. If you're wondering "what anti theft device do I have?", you could have one of the following devices. Here are a few that might come already installed in your new car:
Remote locks are standard in most cars. Meaning, if you walk away from your vehicle without locking it, a remote device will let you lock and unlock your car from your phone.
Transponder keys won’t let you drive your car unless you have the key on you.
Car alarm systems may come installed in your vehicle, but they aren’t considered a very effective method of security anymore. People hear the blaring of car alarms so often, they likely won’t notice the sound of a car actually being stolen or vandalized.
For that reason, most new cars don’t come with car alarms anymore, and it will cost $200 or more to have one installed in your vehicle (although, you probably don’t want to bother).

Tracking and recovery systems

While recovery systems don’t actively prevent theft, they can help you get your car back in the event it is stolen by tracking its location.
A GPS tracking device will track down your car via your phone. You can also receive text and email alerts if something out of the ordinary happens to your vehicle. Depending on the system, you might have the power to immobilize your car if you suspect it’s been stolen. You can purchase a standard GPS for around $40.
Tracking subscriptions, like Onstar, can block your car’s engine from starting if it’s been stolen, as well as tracking your car’s current location. These plans typically start around $25 per month.
Vehicle recovery devices will alert you via text or email if someone attempts to drive your vehicle without the necessary keyfob. They also use radio frequencies sent directly to police computers to track down and recover your car. These systems cost around $695.
These devices not only put your mind at ease, but they can also help you get a good deal on car insurance.

Insurance companies that offer anti theft device car insurance discounts

Insurance Company
Average Discount
Up to 25% off

Does car insurance protect you from theft?

Comprehensive coverage is the only insurance that can protect you from theft.
Liability coverage
collision coverage
do not protect your vehicle from
If your vehicle is stolen, comprehensive coverage can reimburse you for the
cash value
of your stolen vehicle, minus the deductible. Just be sure to research the value of your car before agreeing on an amount with the insurance adjuster.
Less than half of stolen vehicles in the U.S. are ever recovered and those that are found are often damaged or missing parts. Sadly, liability and collision coverage won’t cover those costs either.
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Key Takeaway Comprehensive insurance is the only coverage that reimburses you for theft or vandalism.

Finding the best comprehensive car insurance policy

Remember, anti theft devices are no replacement for comprehensive coverage.
In the event of car theft, it is the only insurance coverage that will reimburse you for your lost or damaged vehicle.
Many insurers offer discounts for having an anti theft device installed, but the amounts vary greatly.
If you’re looking for a new insurance company, Jerry can provide you with competitive quotes in under a minute. Swapping is just as effortless.
takes care of all the paperwork, phone, calls, and even cancels your old policy on your behalf — oh, and it’s free!
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What is a vehicle recovery system anti-theft device?

A vehicle recovery system is a device you keep in your car that transmits a signal if your car gets stolen so police can find your car. These systems typically use radio frequency to alert nearby police stations of the vehicle's location. LoJack is one common vehicle recovery system.

Is a car alarm an anti-theft device?

Yes, a car alarm is an anti-theft device. However, it's not a particularly effective one. Most people ignore car alarms when they hear them, so the alarm probably won't do much to deter a thief.
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