HALF a billion dollars worth of cars were stolen in Australian in just 12 months, but they are not targeting the exotic, expensive or rare.
New data collated by comparethemarket.com.au suggests that it's the mundane that are most appealing to thieves.
Nissan Pulsars built through the late 1990s are the most popular by number, but it was the Holden Commdores built from 1997 onwards that are the most targeted.
In one year through 2015 and 2016, there were 2143 Commodores were snatched, with the 2006 VE model the most popular (860) followed by the VT (687) and VX (596).
Toyota Hiluxes built between 2005 and 2011 were also among the most popular, with 759 stolen.
Victoria has the worst record for car thefts, making up 35% of all cars stolen in the past 12 months followed by NSW with 21.4% and Queensland punching above its weight at 17.3%.
Comparethemarket has also delivered a range of "vehicle theft hotspots".
In Queensland, the south-east dominates the list with Logan, Gold Coast and Brisbane City, among the top, followed by Townsville.
Drivers need to be aware that car theft is not necessarily covered by basic levels of insurance.
Neither Compulsory Third Party nor Third Party Property includes car theft, however Third party Fire and Theft or Comprehensive insurance will.
Concerned? Here are five ways to keep your car safe, and insured:
Check it's locked, and check again
It seems obvious but triple check your car is locked and the alarm is on. Ensure you hear the central locking activate, and look out for the visual signs too. Nearly all motor insurance policies exclude cover for theft if the vehicle was left unlocked. It is also worth checking that your windows aren't open, including the sunroof, as this could also void your policy.
Don't leave your keys in the ignition
You might be gone for a short time, but opportunist thieves only need a couple of minutes to jump into your vehicle and drive away. If your car has been stolen while it's left running, your insurance may be invalidated. Not only will you go through the hassle and stress of losing your car, but you won't get any payout.
Know where you keep your keys
The easiest way for a thief to steal your car is with the keys. Think about where you keep them at home, is it near an open window or in your letterbox? When you're out and about, ensure keys are not within easy reaching distance. Most policies state that drivers must take all reasonable steps to protect the vehicle from loss or damage, and will often reject a claim if they believe that the driver had been 'reckless.'
Being extra aware when selling your car
If you decide to part ways with your beloved vehicle, you must take extra precautions to sell it appropriately. If you display or advertise that your car is for sale and don't take reasonable precautions to prevent its theft or damage, then your insurance won't cover you. Advertise carefully and keep your vehicle protected until it is sold.
Understand the cover that protects you against car theft
There are several types of car insurance you can choose from to protect your vehicle but it's important to know which ones cover you for theft and which ones don't. For example, Compulsory Third Party and Third Party Property do not cover you if your car is stolen. However, choosing extensive car insurance such as Third Party Fire and Theft and Comprehensive Car Insurance could cover you if your vehicle is stolen. These types of insurances may also include the use of a hire car if your car is stolen and even the replacement of possessions left within the stolen vehicle.
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