Anti-Theft Recovery Systems

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She works as an associate editor and writer for for over a year and enjoys creating content that offers expert advice on car insurance topics.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs...

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Reviewed byLeslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Vehicle theft is a serious problem in the United States and around the world. Thanks to technology, however, it’s becoming harder for thieves to steal cars.

The term ‘anti-theft recovery systems’ refers to any device or feature on a vehicle that makes it easier to find a vehicle after it has been stolen.

Some of the most common anti-theft recovery systems include:

  • GPS tracking
  • Remote shutdown systems
  • Location-based alert systems
  • Multi-featured anti-theft recovery systems like LoJack and OnStar

These systems work in different ways to increase the likelihood of recovering a vehicle after theft.

How Do Anti-Theft Recovery Systems Work?

anti-theft recovery systemsAnti-theft recovery systems all work in different ways. The goal of any vehicle recovery system is to make it easier to recover the vehicle after theft.

Anti-theft recovery systems do not prevent or deter someone from stealing a vehicle. That’s not the point. Instead, these systems make it easier for law enforcement or the vehicle’s owner to recover a vehicle after it has been stolen.

Some systems are designed to shut down the vehicle immediately after it has been stolen, making it easier for law enforcement to recover the vehicle before it’s damaged, destroyed, or stripped for parts.

Other anti-theft recovery systems make it easy to track a vehicle. They use GPS to monitor a vehicle’s location.

Some let vehicle owners set up GPS boundaries: you receive an automatic alert if your car leaves a specific geographic boundary, for example.

Two of the most popular vehicle recovery systems available today include LoJack and OnStar.

How Does the LoJack Vehicle Recovery System Work?

LoJack is a private company that partnered with law enforcement to create an effective vehicle recovery system. Today, LoJack is the only stolen vehicle recovery system fully integrated with law enforcement. LoJack distributes special devices to police forces. These devices help the police officer track stolen vehicles.

The patented LoJack system uses a small radio frequency transceiver hidden within the car. That receiver is linked to the unique VIN of each car.

When a car is reported stolen, police officers can use their own LoJack device to track the radio transceiver.

LoJack’s success rate speaks for itself: the company claims over 90% of cars equipped with LoJack are recovered.

How Does the OnStar Stolen Vehicle Recovery System Work?

General Motors created OnStar to reduce the threat of vehicle theft. Since 2007, OnStar has been standard equipment on the full range of GM cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in the United States and Canada.

There are two OnStar packages available. The cheaper Safe & Sound package comes with a suite of anti-theft tools, including:

  • Remote Door Unlock
  • Remote Horn and Lights
  • Stolen Vehicle Location Tracking

OnStar can also issue automatic alerts for airbag deployment or list current vehicle diagnostics. You can also use OnStar to contact emergency services tor access roadside assistance.

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Do Anti-Theft Recovery Systems Come Standard on New Vehicles?

Some vehicle manufacturers now offer anti-theft recovery systems as standard features on all new vehicles.

However, most older vehicles are unlikely to have anti-theft recovery systems.

If you want to add an anti-theft recovery system to your vehicle, then that’s an option. You can buy a device like LoJack, for example, which helps law enforcement track your vehicle after it has been stolen.

Do I Get an Auto Insurance Discount for Anti-Theft Vehicle Recovery Systems?

Anti-theft recovery devices significantly increase the chances that your vehicle will be recovered after theft.

That’s why a growing number of insurance companies offer discounts for using anti-theft recovery devices.

If your vehicle has an anti-theft recovery device, then consider shopping around for car insurance to ensure you’re getting the best deal and are taking full advantage of your vehicle’s anti-theft recovery system.

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