Thieves that live in tourist areas know that rental cars are often full of cameras, iPads, and sometimes jewelry tucked inside a traveler’s luggage.
Even when tourists lock their valuables in the trunk of their rental cars, where presumably they are invisible and therefore not a temptation to passersby, some thieves have been known to break the window glass, punch out the keyhole, and even pry open the trunk to take everything they can quickly reach.
Let’s go over some travel tips to avoid rental car break-ins and theft.
5 Tips to Avoid Rental Car Break-ins
In some areas, rental car break-ins have become such a big problem that signs are posted to warn people not to leave anything in their cars. Beyond that rule, let’s review some tips for avoiding rental car break-ins:
- If you see areas of the parking lot marked by broken glass, park somewhere else. That glass probably means that thieves have been smashing windows in that parking lot.
- When you do park, leave the consoles and glove compartment open to show that they are empty. If a thief sees that there is nothing to steal, they’ll move on to better pickings.
- Remove all electronic attachments when you park the car. Charger cords and cases are a dead give away that have something worth stealing and that’s all a thief needs for encouragement.
- Always lock all the doors and close the windows and sunroof completely. Enduring a hot car for a little while is better than dealing with the mess of a car that’s been broken into.
- If you absolutely must leave something in your rental car, hide it completely – completely under the seat, under the mat, etc. Covering items with a blanket or coat no longer works well. Thieves will smash the window just to see what’s hidden.
Avoid Open Air Theft Too
Some more brazen thieves have been known to snatch valuables even when the car is occupied by the driver. To prevent open air thefts, see this list:
- Avoid convertibles. Travelers driving in convertibles have been shocked when their purses, backpacks, laptops, and more are snatched while they are waiting at a stoplight.
- Rent a car with air conditioning. This means you can drive with the windows closed. Thieves have been known to grab items they can reach through open windows – even when the car is in motion!
- Lock the doors when you’re driving. Again, thieves have been known to snatch items they can easily reach on the seats when you stop to make a turn, or to park, etc.
Know your coverage
As a traveler with travel insurance, it’s important to remember a few things about travel insurance coverage when your belongings are stolen:
- Baggage coverage reimburses you (up to the policy limit) for the value of stolen baggage and personal effects anywhere you are during your trip. So, if your stuff is taken from a rental car, you’ll have some money to get replacement stuff. Baggage coverage, just like any coverage, has limits. See our review of baggage coverage for more details.
- Car rental collision coverage reimburses you (up to the policy limit) for the cost of repairs if your rental car is burglarized. It does not cover items inside the vehicle. See our review of car rental coverage for more details.
Ideally, travelers will have some form of car rental coverage as well as baggage coverage for the best protection against rental car break ins.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.