What Is the Anti-Theft Device Discount?

Many insurance companies offer a discount for anti-theft devices. Find out which car alarms and anti-theft systems qualify and which insurers offer it.
Car steering wheel locking device

Cars are both valuable and a favorite target of criminals. At some point, thieves may break in or even steal the entire vehicle. Your car’s even more at risk if it doesn’t have some sort of alarm or security system. But if one is installed, it can do more than protect you from criminals. You can also get an anti-theft device discount on your auto insurance.

Insurers reward customers who have crime-deterring hardware installed on their vehicles. The savings could be significant. For example, GEICO offers up to 23% off your car insurance if you have a qualifying device.

Crime-deterring tech helps stop criminals from stealing your vehicle or other valuables inside. This means you’re less likely to file a claim for a break-in. Insurers reward customers who pose a lower risk with lower rates. Besides protecting your car, they might help you pay less for coverage.

This article will explore how the anti-theft devices can lower your rates. We’ll start with how the discount works. Then, we’ll tell you about which systems and equipment qualify. Finally, you’ll learn about which auto insurance companies offer it and how much you can save.

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How the Anti-Theft Device Discount Works

Most auto insurance companies offer discounts. It makes buying coverage more affordable by taking off a percentage from your rates. Those involving vehicle safety are easy to get, and you probably qualify for several. Most modern cars roll off the assembly line with factory-installed equipment that qualify for discounts, including:

Other safety features insurers love are anti-theft devices. This is because anything that deters a criminal from breaking into a vehicle or aiding in its recovery saves providers money. With car break-ins and crime increasing nationwide, more and more insurance companies reward customers who install alarms and GPS tracking systems.

The anti-theft device discount is easy to qualify for. Generally, you get it for having any system preventing criminals from breaking in. Equipment that helps law enforcement find and recover a stolen vehicle can also qualify.

How to Qualify

There are a couple of ways to get this discount from your insurance company. One is to buy a car with a factory-installed anti-theft system. Many newer models come equipped with crime-preventing tech. To find out if you already have qualifying equipment, give the vehicle’s year, make, and model to your agent. They have more info on security features. Otherwise, you can look up the safety features online.

Another way to qualify is to buy and install an aftermarket security alarm or system. Be aware that insurers only accept specific devices. So, check with your agent to make sure you install qualifying equipment.

What Are Anti-Theft Devices?

Alarm systems and other security equipment help deter criminals from breaking into or stealing a car. They can be either standard equipment or aftermarket, but most modern vehicles come pre-loaded with at least a basic security system. Some keep thieves from breaking in, while others come in handy with recovering a stolen vehicle.

Vehicle security equipment has two main categories, active and passive. Each type is effective, yet has entirely different functionalities. You decide the security setup that makes you feel the most secure. You may even add more than one to maximize your protection. However, if you want to qualify for an anti-theft insurance discount, make sure you pay attention to what your provider accepts.

Passive vs. Active Devices

When talking about car security, it’s important to understand the difference between active and passive systems. Each type is effective and has its pros and cons. But first, we need to define them.

Passive Devices

Passive systems arm or activate themselves automatically when you turn your ignition off, remove the key fob, or shut a door. Insurance companies prefer passive systems because they’re easy to use. As long as you don’t deliberately disable them, they run in the background, arming themselves when needed.

Examples of Passive Devices
  • PassLock system. A PassLock system cuts the fuel to your engine when the wrong key is detected. This makes it very hard for a thief to steal a vehicle.
  • GPS tracker. With a GPS tracker, you can keep tabs on your vehicle at all times via your phone. This can also help you recover your car if someone steals it.
  • Automatic locks. These lock your doors automatically when the key fob is far from the vehicle.
  • Vehicle recovery system. You can install a recovery system that sends a radio signal to the police if a thief steals your car. The radio signal usually discloses its location, helping police get it back.

Active Devices

Active systems, on the other hand, require an action such as hitting a button or placing a locking mechanism on a steering wheel or column for them to work. If you forget to activate it, you won’t have protection. Even so, these are an effective crime deterrent and should help you qualify for lower insurance rates.

Examples of Active Devices
  • Car alarm. A loud, audible alarm is a good way to prevent crime. Most vehicles will already have this. There are many types of car alarms on the market, but not all qualify. Check yours to find out if you can get a discount.
  • Steering wheel lock. This is a common crime deterrent. It’s a physical lock you place on your steering wheel so that crooks can’t drive off easily, even if they already broke into it.
  • Security tire clamp. This fits around your wheel. It’ll help prevent thieves from stealing your vehicle while it’s sitting in a parking lot.
  • Kill switch. A kill switch will cut the power to your engine to prevent criminals from being able to start it. To install this, you may need to hire an expert, such as a mechanic.

Note that these are some of the most common theft protection systems. There are many more on the market that qualify. If you have any questions about types of security systems, be sure to contact your provider. They should be able to help you discover what qualifies for a discount and which may not.

After you’ve installed a security system, you’ll need to prove it to your carrier. Your provider should have more info on how to do this. It may be different for each company, but you can often just send a photo through its mobile app. After that, you’ll get a discount.

How You Can Save

Savings for the anti-theft discount vary by company and the type of security equipment you install in your vehicle. A passive device saves up to 30% on comprehensive insurance, which is very compelling. Less sophisticated systems can still qualify, but your savings won’t be as dramatic. Even so, most save around 15-20%, which isn’t too shabby.

States That Require a Discount for Anti-Theft Devices

Several states understand the importance of vehicle security systems and how they help insurers reduce costs. These state governments have passed laws requiring providers to offer a discount on comprehensive coverage to customers whose cars have a crime-deterring tech.

Below is a list of the twelve states that mandate a comprehensive discount for certain anti-theft devices:

Insurance Companies Offering an Anti-Theft Discount

Many of the largest and most well-known insurance companies offer this discount. Several types of vehicle security systems qualify. Each provider will vary in its savings and the equipment it approves. Here’s a list of major insurers that offer a discount for alarms and theft prevention systems:

These may not be the only companies that offer this discount. Local insurers may also provide one. It’s worth asking your agent about it if your company isn’t on the list above. Another option is to do an auto insurance comparison to see the difference. That way, you’ll know the savings right away.

Anti-Theft Device Discount by Company

Insurance CompanyMax Savings
State Farm15%
Liberty Mutual20%
The Hanover8%
COUNTRY Financial10%
Note: table data found on the above insurers’ websites.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do new cars come with anti-theft devices?

Most new vehicles come with some sort of crime-deterring tech. You should do some online research on yours and find out exactly what type it has. Smart key fobs and alarms likely come with buying a new car. These alone may reduce your premium.

Older vehicles have fewer security systems than newer ones. The older it is, the less likely it is to have the kind of security system that can lock you down an anti-theft insurance discount. Keep in mind when shopping for a used car that you may need to install your own after-market hardware if security is important to you.

How do I know if my car has qualifying equipment?

Insurance companies accept a wide range of devices making it likely your car has at least one. Audible alarms are a very common feature that most insurers should accept. Your vehicle might have another as well. Be sure to ask your agent or provider about your specific make and model.

You may also choose to add after-market equipment later. Just know that only certain systems that your carrier approves of qualify.

What qualifies for the anti-theft insurance discount?

Which equipment qualifies depends heavily on several factors. For starters, some insurance companies require an OEM factory-installed anti-theft device. Not all do, as some will accept after-market alarms. The best of these will track a stolen vehicle with GPS or disable it. But steering column locks, brake locks, and car alarms qualify, too. There are too many to list here, so check with your agent if you’re unsure.

Is it worth installing a car alarm system to get the discount?

One could argue that it’s worth installing anti-theft gear whether you get a discount or not. There are a lot of pros and only a few cons. Depending on what kind you get, it could help recover a stolen vehicle or deter criminals from even touching your car. The only con worth mentioning is cost.

There’s a wide selection of theft-deterring and vehicle-recovery systems on the market. Simple car alarms cost anywhere from $100 to $300. But if you really love your ride, or have a valuable asset to protect, a GPS recovery system costs $50 or so just to install and then $9.95 to $49.50 a month.

If that seems like too much for how much it saves you, ask yourself how much you value your possessions. That should help you make the right choice.


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