If you keep your car registration in the glove compartment — or anywhere else in the vehicle — you could open yourself up to a world of hurt.
Leaving your car registration in the glove box is a bad idea
Imagine this situation: You park your car in a public lot for a night on the town. While you’re out to dinner, thieves are looking inside cars for valuables, including garage door openers. The bad guy breaks into your car, reaches into the glove box and finds your address on your car registration. After driving to your house, the thief uses your garage door opener to gain easy access. Just like that, your precious belongings are gone.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau, which strongly advises against keeping your car registration in the glove box, says this nightmare scenario is really happening across the country.
“We have reports from our law enforcement partners that car thieves have stolen the car, driven it to the residence and burglarized the home before the owner even knew the vehicle was missing,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle.
What the thieves are after
Atlanta police told Clark.com that they haven’t noticed a trend of thieves stealing garage door openers from cars to later commit home burglaries. In general, criminals are looking through cars for cash, electronics or even guns.
But police say you should never leave anything in your car that could cause an extra headache if it were stolen.
“We encourage everyone to please remove all valuables and important paperwork (not only about your car or finances, but also containing your personal information) from their vehicles,” said Officer L. Sajdak of the Atlanta Police Department.
As far as the car registration goes, the National Insurance Crime Bureau suggests taking a picture of it on your cell phone or keeping a photocopy in your wallet.
Chad Jensen: We make a photocopy of the registration, white out the address then photocopy that page. Keep the original at home and keep the copy with no address in the glove box and shred the one with white out on it.
If you’re pulled over, Atlanta police confirmed to us that an officer will accept a picture or photocopy of your registration, if they even ask for it. Usually they can verify the information on their computer.
In addition, many states now allow you to show electronic proof of insurance during a traffic stop. However, you may want to keep a paper card handy in case your smartphone runs out of battery.