Gone in 60 seconds – or even sooner


Craig Montgomery

You’ve popped into your local Wawa to grab your morning coffee. A little cream, a little sugar. You do this every day. Except this day was different. In the scant moments it took to get your coffee and return to the parking lot, your car was gone.

The pandemic — and the associated global shortage of semiconductor chips — has created a perfect storm of conditions for a surge in auto thefts.

Fact is, in 2020 alone there were 873,080 vehicle thefts in the U.S., the highest number in more than a decade. Since a vehicle was stolen every 43.8 seconds back in 2019, that number compresses even more today. Or, in way less time than it took for you to grab your coffee with a little cream, a little sugar.

And if you have any doubt your car could be swiped in less than a minute, today’s professional car thieves — using inexpensive security-busting technology sold on Amazon — can be screeching away in 10 seconds.

But wait, there’s more.

There has also been a spike in items stolen from vehicles. It takes just seconds to break a window or open a locked door, even those sealed with today’s sophisticated electronics. And then your cell phone, tablet, credit cards, personal identification, garage door opener, sunglasses, car accessories and, yes, for many, even your keys are gone.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the pandemic has created a pool of disenfranchised people who are either unemployed or have limited resources. Their frustration and anger — combined with today’s budget-constrained policing activity — have made it especially challenging to prevent car theft.

Plus, COVID’s impact on the supply chain of auto manufacturers has made used vehicles considerably more valuable. As tens of thousands of new vehicles sit in storage lots awaiting semiconductor chips before they can be shipped to dealers, the average used car price has jumped nearly 30% from just one year ago.  

Own a used Ford F150, Honda Civic or a Toyota Camry?  You may want to double-check your driveway... 

All of this disturbing information is not lost on Montgomery Insurance Services. Because nearly all cases of theft lead to an insurance claim, every policyholder potentially suffers from higher premiums. That’s why Montgomery urges vehicle owners to protect their vehicles and their contents, especially when theft activity is raging.

Yes, depending on your policy terms, theft and break-in repair charges are typically covered under our comprehensive umbrella. But you have the power to thwart car and content theft — even if the power is simply using common sense.

TAKE YOUR KEYS or key fob with you when you leave your vehicle.

LOCK YOUR DOORS and try to park in a well-lit area or lot.

DON’T LEAVE VALUABLES inside your car, and that includes your garage door opener.

KEEP YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION as a photo on your phone rather than in the glove compartment.

BUY A GPS TRACKER that can help authorities find your vehicle.

ADD A KILL SWITCH that can immobilize a stolen vehicle.

It’s a good idea to revisit the terms of your auto insurance policy – especially these days, when used vehicles are seemingly under siege. Call Montgomery today at 610-565-8280 or drop us an email at Your agent will be happy to adjust your coverage, if needed, and protect you from the bad guys scoping out your car.

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