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Blog category: Driving

Preventing Car Theft: How Kill Switches Deter Criminals

3 min read

In 2022, a vehicle was stolen every 32 seconds in the US, according to a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That adds up to a staggering one million plus auto thefts that year. Even more staggering is the fact that roughly half of those thefts were made possible by the drivers of those vehicles. No, the drivers in question didn’t just hand over the keys to the bad guy (we hope) but they didn’t do enough to safeguard the vehicle to prevent it from being taken.

With car thieves becoming more brazen and technologically sophisticated, the onus is on vehicle owners to step up their theft prevention game. Most of us are aware of the typical theft deterrents out there – car alarms, steering-wheel locks, and vehicle recovery systems, for example. But the time has come to employ every tool available to protect our cars.

In addition to taking all the precautions out there, like parking sensibly in well-lit areas, one potential weapon to add to your arsenal may be to install a kill switch in your car. This simple device is hidden inside the vehicle and prevents it from starting, which goes a long way to keeping your auto safe and out of the clutches of criminals. Below, we explain the difference between the five types of switches to help you determine which type would work best for your vehicle and lifestyle.

Fuel System Relay Switch

Fuel-line shutoff valves do just that — they prevent fuel from getting to the engine. And without fuel, the car won’t go. The engine will still crank but it won’t turn over so a would-be thief will probably assume the car’s having trouble starting and move on to the next one. One downside of the fuel system relay switch: it relies on a manual knob to open or close the fuel line, which makes it inconvenient for everyday use.

Battery Disconnect Switch

This type of kill switch can be a more convenient option than the fuel relay switch for those using their cars every day. The battery disconnect switch works by unhooking the negative battery lead and connecting the kill switch directly to the negative battery terminal. To complete the circuit and start the car, you would turn the knob in one direction. Turning it in the opposite direction prevents the car from starting, mimicking what happens when the battery is dead.

Remote Car Battery Switch

This remote-controlled switch is a popular option among drivers because of its easy access. Drivers can keep the remote on their car keys and activate it anytime – even when they’re not in the car – if they see potentially suspicious activity. The switch is installed on the battery like the wired version but is activated by magnets.

Ignition Wire Switch

Ignition wire switches work by putting a break in the ignition wire so the car won’t start. They’re typically placed in a hidden spot. You could install this switch yourself, but if you cut the wrong wire, you risk damaging your car significantly. This is one time when paying a pro is a good idea.

Fuse Box Switch

The fuse box kill switch stops power from getting to the car by blocking it directly (as the name suggests) at the fuse box. You choose the specific fuses you want to deactivate and install the switch in a discrete location.

Kill Switch Costs

The cost of kill switches varies widely between $10 and $100. It depends on the type of switch you choose, your vehicle make and model, and whether you install it yourself or pay a professional. But even at the high end of the range, this effective theft deterrent will not break the bank. Compared to the hassle of having your car stolen and all that entails, the humble kill switch is worth its weight in gold.

Protecting your auto with a theft deterrent is a simple way to protect your investment. While you’re at it, call your Wawanesa agent and make sure your auto insurance is giving you the protection you need too.

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The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.

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