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Protecting Your Paperwork from Car Break-Ins

Car thief at work
Photo: iStockphoto

With the weather heating up, you're probably spending more time in the great outdoors than in the car. Or rather, you may be driving to the best parts of the great outdoors and leaving your car unattended for hours at a time. And because warm weather also brings a rise in car-related crime, you may come back to your car, happy and sunburned, and find that someone has broken into your vehicle.

There's no sure-fire way to avoid having your car broken into and most car crime avoidance "tips" are just common sense. Don't leave valuables out in the open. Don't leave the doors unlocked. Choose to drive a vehicle so decrepit that thieves will simply mock it and move on (this is my father's strategy).

Even if you don't leave valuables in plain sight, though, your car may still be a gold mine for thieves. According to this article in the Globe and Mail, sometimes thieves don't care about taking your iPod - they really just want your vehicle information.

Thieves may steal your vehicle insurance or registration information for a variety of reasons - insurance scams, personal identity theft or for documentation to legitimize a previously stolen vehicle. Again, you can only do so much to avoid car break-ins, but when it comes to protecting your documentation, there are a couple of steps you can take:

  • Keep the real documents safe at home and keep photocopies in your vehicle.

  • Keep your documents somewhere other than the glove compartment (like in a ziploc baggie under the floor mat, for example). Our car has a secret compartment under the cup holders (shhh!) Maybe yours does to.

  • Don't keep your spare keys or garage door opener in the glove box either - if a thief has your vehicle registration, he also has your home address.

If your vehicle information is stolen, be sure and contact your insurance company and the Ministry of Transportation as soon as possible. As the article suggests, "check if any documentation has been ordered on your vehicle, such as a used vehicle information package or change of ownership."

Having your car broken into is never a thrill; but these steps may help give you a little peace of mind when you park your car and head off to the beach for a day in the sun.

Have you ever had your vehicle paperwork stolen? Share your experience in the comments.

- Rose R.

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