This article was first printed in Dawn Magazine on 12th Oct 2014


Here are certain premises that need to be clearly established:

— Law enforcement must be involved if the crime is of violent nature or there’s a potential for physical harm

— Taking the law into one’s hands is illegal

— Never resist or try to engage an armed assailant

Scenario: The vehicle screen has been broken into and valuables as well as equipment stolen. How to prevent further break-ins?

Advice: While parking the vehicle in a secure place is important, there are a couple of other things one can and must do:

— Install an alarm that goes off when the screen is struck and ensure a response to it even if it’s a false alarm.

— Another moderately expensive technique and not commonly known is to have an anti-shatter film installed on the windscreens.

A number of vendors provide varying degrees of protection measured in microns. The commonly applied range is 125 to 350. The higher the micro gauge the stronger the resistance.
Rationale: While parking and alarms are common, anti-shatter film is not well-known but is far more effective. The way it works requires a perpetrator to make an extra effort. A simple hit with a rock or metal piece will not dislodge the glass even though it cracks. What this means for the perpetrator is that it takes extra time and requires a large instrument hence the probability of getting noticed.The cost varies from Rs25,000 to Rs50,000 based on the size of the vehicle and the gauge of the film.

Scenario: The vehicle has a tracking device but the car was not stopped nor was it located. Why does this happen and what should one do?

Advice: Tracking companies say that there are several reasons for not stopping the vehicle; the most probable being the following:

— It was travelling at a high speed that would result in a major accident if suddenly shutdown

— The company believe the life of vehicle owner inside the car could be at risk by the hijacker

— The tracker could have been disabled for a variety of reasons

— An alternate contact either was untraceable or then failed to respond with the appropriate password which eats away from the window of opportunity available to enable a shutdown

To overcome such situations:

— Do some research before deciding on which tracking device to install in the vehicle. (The most obvious thing to be done but it’s often never acted upon.)

— If you have no option on choice due to the insurance company dictates then make sure you understand what the tracking company will do

— Things to consider while choosing a tracking company:

*Under what circumstances they will shut down a car

*What happens if both primary and secondary contacts forget the password

*Does the company have a retrieval team 24/7

*Is online monitoring available for individual users

*Is video and / or voice recording or live streaming available from inside the car (newer tracking devices now available).

*Can the tracking device be jammed?

Rationale: Cheaper devices and services are cheap for a reason. The service level before, during and after an incident have a significant impact on the recovery of your vehicle. This may be extremely vital if the owner or family member is also taken with the vehicle.

Scenario: Do I need vehicle insurance, what type and until when?

Advice: There are two forms of vehicle insurance one is mandatory, while the other is at the discretion of the owner.

Third Party Insurance is mandatory in Pakistan and is a form of protection of the owner against liability for third party loss.

Third party insurance is easily secured at a nominal fee versus comprehensive vehicle insurance.

Getting comprehensive vehicle insurance is for the owner to decide upon. Though there are some instances when this is made mandatory.

— Banks when providing vehicle loans make it mandatory

*Offered as part of the mon-thly instalment plan with a choice of selecting from a list they provide

*Note in addition to insurance, vehicle tracking is made mandatory by insurers for brand new vehicles up to four to five years old on average.

Things to keep in mind when selecting an insurance plan:

— The track record of the company in paying out insurance complaints

— The ability of the company to provide support anywhere in the country

— The rates charged and the No Claims Benefit policy

No claims benefit is a discount applied on the following years premium if no claim had been made in the prior year

Note sometimes it’s better to avoid small claims to obtain a bigger no claim bonus the following year which will still save you money

There’s no restriction when you insure your vehicle; however, generally after seven years the cost benefit analysis begins to favour the insurance company more than the individual

When thinking vehicle insurance think: can I afford to get zero money if the vehicle is a total loss or stolen and not recovered?

Rationale: Purchasing com-prehensive insurance for vehicles especially brand new ones is a no-brainer. Vehicle theft and accidents are very common and avoidance is more about luck.

Scenario: Buying or selling a car what to keep in mind from a safety perspective?

Advice: Any purchase deal is fraught with risk of fraud. Therefore here are things to be mindful about:

— Avoid wherever possible doing transactions in cash or cheque/bank draft over the weekends or on bank holidays

*You could be mugged when it’s known that you have a large amount of cash

*It takes anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to receive funds from bank drafts / cheques deposited. In case of a fraudulent document or lack of funds the buyer could be long gone

— Know what documents are required before making any deal and ensure they’re complete.

— Open transfer letters while a common practice, are illegal therefore avoid it.

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