Anti-Theft Recovery Systems

Anti-theft recovery devices increase the chances of your vehicle being recovered after being stolen. Depending on your insurance company, you may qualify for insurance discounts of up to 25% for installing anti-theft recovery systems in your car.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

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. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2022

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Anti-Theft Recovery System Stats
Anti-Theft Recovery System FactsSource
773,139 vehicles were stolen in 2017FBI
The combined cost per year of stolen vehicles is at least $6 billionFBI
An anti-theft or vehicle recovery device can mean discounts of between 3 and 25 percent offVarious Insurance Companies
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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.

Wondering what to do if your car is stolen? That’s where vehicle recovery systems come in. What is a stolen vehicle recovery system? It and the term ‘anti-theft recovery systems’ refers to any vehicle recovery device or feature on a vehicle that makes it easier to find a vehicle after it has been stolen, often using an electronic homing device.

Read this article to learn more about anti-theft recovery devices, car recovery systems, and more.

Use your ZIP code to get a free quote on insurance so you have the right coverage if your vehicle is stolen.

Anti-Theft Recovery System Basics

Vehicle theft in the United States is a serious concern that results in billions of dollars lost each year. For example, in 2017, the FBI reported 773,139 vehicles stolen in the United States, resulting a total of $6 billion lost.

To help aid in reducing vehicle theft (by deterring thieves) and speed up the recovery of vehicles, auto theft recovery systems are growing in popularity. Even state organizations like the Arizona Insurance and Financial Institute recommend various forms of anti-theft recovery be installed on your vehicle.

So just what is a vehicle recovery system anti-theft device? Some of the most common anti-theft vehicle recovery systems include:

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

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

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How do anti-theft recovery systems work?

Anti-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 physically 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 anti-theft systems. We’ll define LoJack and OnStar both in the next few sections.

How does the LoJack stolen vehicle recovery system work?

LoJack is a private company that partnered with law enforcement to create an effective stolen vehicle recovery system. Today, LoJack is the only stolen vehicle recovery system fully integrated with law enforcement. But what is the Lojack system?

What is a vehicle recovery device for a car? LoJack distributes special devices to police forces. These devices help the police officer track stolen vehicles. Take a look at this video to learn more.

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 percent 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. You can access their stolen vehicle recovery system with an active subscription.

You can watch this video to learn a bit more about how OnStar helps recover stolen vehicles in Oakland, California.

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

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Anti-Theft Recovery Systems on New Vehicles

Some vehicle manufacturers now offer stolen car recovery systems as standard features on 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 an anti-theft vehicle device?

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. Take a look at this table to see which companies offer vehicle recovery or anti-theft device discounts.

Anti-Theft and Vehicle Recovery Discounts Available by Company
Insurance CompanyOffers Anti-Theft DiscountAnti-Theft Discount Percentage (if available)Offers Vehicle Recovery DiscountVehicle Recovery Discount Percentage (if available)
21st CenturyYesNot AvailableYesNot Available
AAAYesNot AvailableYesNot Available
American FamilyYesNot AvailableYesNot Available
Country FinancialYes10%No-
FarmersYesNot AvailableYesNot Available
Liberty MutualYes20%Yes35%
ProgressiveYesNot AvailableYesNot Available
Safe AutoYesNot AvailableYesNot Available
SafecoYesNot AvailableYesNot Available
State FarmYes15%Yes5%
The GeneralYes8%Yes8%
The HanoverYes5%YesNot Available
The HartfordYes3%Yes3%
TravelersYesNot AvailableYesNot Available
USAAYesNot AvailableYesNot Available
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Available data indicates that you can get a discount of anywhere between 3 and 25 percent off your policy rates, though not all companies provide the discount information.

For example, you can get a USAA vehicle recovery system discount and anti-theft device discount, but you’ll need to speak with a licensed insurance agent to find out exactly how much your discount may be.

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. Consider also speaking to a licensed insurance agent to learn the best way to take advantage of auto insurance discounts.

The Bottom Line for Anti-Theft Recovery Systems

Anti-theft recovery systems help ensure your vehicle is recovered quickly. If your vehicle has one installed, it may mean discounts as well. Make sure you shop around to find the right coverage for your needs, with the best discounts for having an anti-theft recovery system.

Want to make sure you have the right coverage if your vehicle is stolen or what your rates will look like with a vehicle recovery system installed on your car? Use your ZIP code to get a free quote today.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Anti-Theft Recovery Systems

Still have questions about recovery devices for cars? Read through these frequently asked questions to learn more.

#1 – What is an electronic homing device?

Nearly all car recovery based on anti-theft devices involves some kind of electronic homing device. Essentially it allows the recovery team to find a vehicle. GPS and other similar technologies fall into this category.

#2 – What does a USAA GPS tracker do?

It is part of USAA’s SmartPilot safe driver program, which is an app that can help you save when you drive safely.

#3 – What is a theft code recovery system?

With this kind of recovery system, the goal is to deter thieves from committing theft by placing visible decals on a vehicle indicating that it has an identification and recovery system installed. Additionally, it includes coverage of up to $5,000 in the event the vehicle is not recovered.

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