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Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

Hamilton, New Jersey
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30 posts
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Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

I read an unusual piece of advice in the at-times controversial "Blue Book" that if I have a rental car, not only should I store as little as possible in it, but that I should also leave the doors unlocked because tourist thieves routinely break-in to rental cars and leaving the doors unlocked would, for the lack of a better way of putting it, allow them to poke their heads in easily rather than risk a hassle of calling the car company once I return from a trip to find my window broken anyway. Is still still (or has it ever been) practical advice? Just sounds a bit odd to me for a place like Hawaii in 2013.

Elk Rapids, Michigan
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for Lanai
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1. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

This has been discussed before. You need to check with your insurance company and make sure you are covered in the event the car is stolen if left unlocked. Mine said yes, locks just keep honest people honest. If somone did break a window or slash the top on a convertable you would be on the hook for the cost of lost rental time as most insurance companies will not cover that. They may pay for the window or top but the rest of the expense is on you.

Not sure anyone would smash a window if there was nothing visible but who knows.

Pittsburgh
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2. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

My wife and I spent 4 nights on the Big Island last summer and we always locked our rental. We didn't leave anything in it other than a GPS that we hid in the consol when we got out. We had it parked in downtown Hilo, Volcano National Park, Punalu'u black sand beach, green sand beach at south point hike, Akaka Falls and probably a couple other things I'm forgetting. We had no problems. We did rent a house that had a garage, so we never left the rental car out over night. Hope this helps

Lahaina, Hawaii
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3. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

Either way, with nothing, and I mean nothing, not even a drive guide or empty cup visible in or on the seats you will be fine. Empty is the key to success to being left alone.

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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for Kauai, Kapaa
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4. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

Lock the car. It's quite possible you'll void your insurance if you don't and you get robbed. And as noted, don't leave ANYTHING visible. Even leaving stuff in the trunk is questionable.

La Mirada...
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for Kauai
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5. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

Lock the car. Somewhere in all the fine print of the rental contract that you sign & initial, you agree to take "reasonable" care of the car....now, this is all hypothetical, BUT, if you choose NOT to lock the car, the car is vandalized and there is no evidence of forced entry or you admit you didn't lock it, the rental company can say you violated the rental policy. Almost any insurance company will tell you if you violate the rental policy, the insurance does not need to cover any damage. That is very evident in the coverage most major credit cards give you, read under What is not covered, 2nd bullet point:

…visa.com/personal/cards/benefits/bft_dmg_wa…

Bottom line...Lock the car.

3Chihuahuas

Hamilton, New Jersey
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6. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

Thanks for the advice! Will-do for the locking. I guess the second half of the question is: just how bad is it when it comes to robberies? I wouldn't be doing anything as dumb as leaving a laptop or a shopping bag from a jewelry store on the passenger seat, but to go so far as not to leave cups, maps, etc in the locked car or leave any shopping bags locked in the trunk as we drive about the island?

Lahaina, Hawaii
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1,097 posts
46 reviews
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7. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

Everything lives in the trunk except gum wrappers, chewed on straws and crumpled Big Mac wrappers.

Maui, Hawaii
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796 posts
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8. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

My other rule (rental or not) is if I do have something valuable in the trunk I don't access it, look at it, discuss it, or open the trunk at all where I park the car. So for example if I am coming straight from the airport to eat at a restaurant, then at the airport everything goes in the trunk and everything I need for the restaurant is taken out at that time. When I park, I don't root around looking in the trunk for stuff, I just hop out, lock the car and walk away.

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

So another thing I do is try to make the car look like it belongs.... I put car magnets on the back from my alma matre, hair ties around the rear view mirror , I throw and old tattered hat on the back dash.... not sure if it helps but we've never had an issue no matter where we travel.

Denver, Colorado
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10. Re: Should I really leave my car unlocked for fear of break-in?

Yep always lock the car or you may not be covered in case of a theft. If like my home town Denver I'm more worried about being broken into here vs. the Big Island.

Based on my numerous trips to the Big Island you need to worry more about traffic and stray dogs on the road and a hand full of rude drivers in large pick ups. Watch you speed limits as well (much slower than the mainland).

Theft and break in problem goes up at remote unsupervised parking areas such as Green Sand Beach parking area vs. Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens where security is good. If like my home town car break ins happen anywhere a thief thinks you aren't coming back for a while w/ stuff in the car.

As far as luggage or general stuff in the car keep that hidden in the trunk. All valuables such as phones, meds, i-pods, lap tops always go w/ you when you loose site of the car. Same rule applies when you are at home.

Before leaving the main land talk w/ your insurance agent to make sure you have good coverage. Then when you get to the rental car counter you can waive their expensive comprehensive coversage. The typical State Farm policy for examp covers the rental car for 21 days. If not enough get their rental car upgrade (longer coverage and loss of use as well) or pay for the rental car w/ a credit card that has coverage and stay under their rental period as well. If going over the rental period covered on your insurance or credit car you may have to break the rental contract into smaller bits and switch cars in the middle of a long trip.

Ask your insurance agent about added glass coverage rider. My State Farm has a cheap upgrade that covers all broken glass at a fairly small upcharge per month. Funny thing is I have never cashed in on that one on the Big Island but had several cracked windshields and one smash/grab at my own house in Denver that were replaced for free (no deductible).

Edited: 16 July 2013, 18:13