Stolen vehicle recovery: Why GPS tracking systems are a must

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August 2, 2019

Commercial motor vehicles and their assets are valuable, making them common targets of theft. According to the FBI, the average dollar loss per theft in the United States (including automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles and other vehicles) is $7,7081, and that cost is higher for trucks with cargo.

The cost of commercial vehicle theft to fleet owners and managers is tremendous, so decreasing any potential for asset theft as well as increasing the recovery rate of any stolen equipment is critical to your bottom line.

GPS tracking systems increase the likelihood of stolen vehicle recovery

Tracking stolen vehicles used to be a challenge, but technology has advanced in recent years. Today, GPS-enabled vehicle recovery systems can even help recover a vehicle during an active theft situation.

To get ahead of any theft situation, alerts can be set to warn fleet managers if a vehicle is turned on or moved outside of a geofence when it shouldn’t be, giving early warning. This allows fleet managers to notify local law enforcement agencies of unauthorized use as soon as it happens—because the faster law enforcement is involved in a potential theft, the more likely it is that the crime will be caught in progress. When stolen vehicles and assets are recovered, even if damage is present, the end cost is mitigated compared to a total loss.

Additionally, many providers make tamper proof GPS devices that make it almost impossible to cheat the system. Reducing or eliminating asset theft, and increasing the likelihood of vehicle recovery, also prevents companies from having to make costly insurance claims and damaging their bottom line.

Ways to reduce insurance claim costs

A telematics solution and its comprehensive GPS data can be leveraged in a number of ways to reduce insurance premiums:

  1. Using GPS tracking to help prevent vehicle theft and increase the likelihood of stolen vehicle recovery keeps total loss claims to a minimum, saving both you and your insurance company money.
  2. Fleet dash cams show context when an incident does occur; if your driver was not actually at fault in a crash or theft situation, you can prove it with video evidence. This could prevent your organization from having to file a costly claim.
  3. Additionally, if a potential thief notices fleet dash cams or a GPS fleet tracking solution installed in the dash, they may be deterred from attempting to steal a vehicle altogether.
  4. Most insurance companies provide a standard discount for proof of compliance with federal and state mandates. Telematics makes it easy to track compliance in one integrated system for hours-of-service (HOS) or the ELD mandate and DVIRs. All of this data housed in a central system makes compliance a more seamless experience.

Near real time GPS tracking is essential

Some GPS tracking tech is used only for downloading data to review driver performance, but more sophisticated GPS asset tracking software exists that can track the coordinates of a vehicle in near real time to help police during theft recovery.

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Even if an incident isn’t caught while it’s happening, GPS tracking can help you find a vehicle so you know exactly where it ends up, and give information about the route it took to get there. There is a lot of data that can be gleaned from GPS reports to understand why and how a car theft occurred, and that information can be used to put new procedures into place for preventing theft in the future. 

Preventing theft has become much simpler thanks to smart GPS tracking technology, including:

  • Alerts that notify you if a vehicle has started or moved outside of a designated boundary help you prevent a thief from getting away with a vehicle.
  • GPS coordinates help you recover vehicles that have already been stolen, preventing a total loss.
  • Early warning systems keep drivers safe during carjacking and breakdowns.

Over the past 26 years, vehicle thefts have been decreasing1 and the National Insurance Crime Bureau credits anti-theft programs, police department efforts and enhanced technology solutions for the improvements.

Real life savings using GPS for stolen vehicle recovery

The question of how to find a stolen car can be answered in this real life example. One company was able to recover a stolen vehicle using GPS. According to Doug Kraus, director of operations, Zayo Group:

"We were able to recover a stolen vehicle in Arizona, and also give the police the information they needed to try and track down who stole it. It saves insurance costs because we were going to have to get a new vehicle - they pay whatever the depreciated value was. Then we have to buy another $25,000 truck. There's probably $12,000 in our pocket right there. [We also] saved [our fleet coordinator] six hours of paperwork."

To learn more about GPS and stolen vehicle recovery systems, request a demo from Verizon Connect today.

Sources

1 Insurance Information Institute https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-auto-theft

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