Classic cars can be valued from a few thousand dollars up to many millions of dollars. In May of 2022, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé was auctioned off for $142 million in Germany. However, we know that whether you own a $7,500 Porsche 944 or a $10 million 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante, your classic car is priceless to you.
Are GPS Trackers Effective?
Nationwide, car thefts are on the upswing; 932,329 cars were reported to the police as being stolen in 2021, 17% more than in 2019. Classic car thefts are also on the rise. Why would a thief take the chance of stealing a collector car that could be somewhat easy to trace? For an answer to this, let’s remember the anecdote about the 1930s bank robber, Willie Sutton. When he was asked why he robbed banks, he replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”
Many car owners have invested in GPS trackers so that they will be able to pinpoint the location of their stolen cars. The disadvantage of these trackers is that they require monthly subscriptions, so they can prove to be quite expensive. One cheaper alternative to a GPS tracker is the Apple AirTag.
AirTags don’t require subscriptions and cost only $29 (even cheaper if you buy a pack of 4 for $99). They are extremely popular; although they were only released in the spring of 2021, 21 million of them were sold in 2021, and it is estimated that 35 million will have been sold by the end of 2022. Although AirTags were originally introduced to help people find their lost belongings (like keys, handbags, and backpacks), people now use them for a variety of purposes, some of them unsavory.
Is My Car Being Tracked?
Potential car thieves have been known to place an AirTag GPS tracker on a car that they are planning to steal. This way, they can find where the owner lives and steal the car from a driveway at a later time.
If you take your much-coveted car to a classic car show or park the car anywhere in public, take the time to check the outside of it for AirTags before you drive away. They are 1.26 inches in diameter, which makes them about the same size as a 50-cent piece. They have a weak magnetic force, but many third-party magnetic holders make it possible for them to be attached to metal surfaces. Popular hiding spots include under a tow hitch, drain cap, or fuel cap.
In Canada, police released a report last year indicating that high-end vehicles were increasingly being stolen with the help of AirTags, according to an article in the Toronto Star. Thieves walk around public parking lots looking for vehicles to steal. When they find a desirable car, they place an AirTag in a hidden spot on the car’s exterior.
Even if you don’t physically notice an AirTag on your car, there is another way for you to see if you have been targeted.
Turn on your location services on your iPhone, or download the Tracker Detect App if you have an Android phone. You will get a notification that reads, AirTag found moving with you: The location of this AirTag can be seen by the owner. Tap to open Find My and see available actions. Additionally, AirTags that have been separated from their owners for 8-24 hours make a sound when they are moved.
Most importantly, whether or not you suspect that someone has placed a tracker on your classic car, take the time and trouble to store your vehicle in a securely locked garage when you return home.
Is It Safe to Use an AirTag to Track My Car?
At this point, you may be wondering why the car thieves get to be the ones using AirTags, but they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this technology. You also can use AirTags to stop thieves – or at least, to locate your car if it has been stolen.
You can place an AirTag on the exterior or interior of your own car. It will only work when connected to Bluetooth, so you won’t get the instantaneous information that comes with a traditional GPS tracker. It may take 3 minutes or so to update its location. However, if the car thief has an iPhone with Bluetooth enabled, you will be able to go to the Find My app on your phone to get its address. Even if the person stealing your car has no phone (thieves read these kinds of articles too), it is more than likely that the tracker will be able to ping off a phone in a nearby vehicle or location.
Ultimately, the AirTag is an imperfect device to use to track your car, but it is inexpensive and much more effective than using no device. Countless people have taken to social media to tell stories of how they tracked their stolen cars to definite addresses with the use of AirTags.
It’s important to understand that you should never attempt to retrieve your car alone. Visit the police department with the knowledge you have gathered and let them handle the next steps. That’s how a Memphis man was able to retrieve his stolen Hyundai SUV in July of 2022. It’s also how a Toronto man recovered his stolen Range Rover in June of 2022.
Choose Classic Auto Insurance to Cover Your Car
Last summer, a 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Lungo Spyder worth $23 million was stolen from a Holiday Inn Express in South Carolina. It was inside a 2009 Haulmark trailer, but that and the truck it was hitched to were also stolen. Police are still searching for this classic Italian car, one of only 8 cars in the world with its exact configuration, and the car’s owner is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to its return. This instance is the perfect example that when your car is being shipped or transported, having a GPS or AirTag can prove to be invaluable in the unfortunate event that your car is misplaced or stolen.
Classic Auto Insurance has been an enthusiastic member of the collector and classic car community since 1993. From the nostalgic to the new, they insure a variety of collectible autos and trucks in 47 states. Classic Auto Insurance offers exceptional and customizable car insurance that’s perfect for your classic car.
With flexible policies and agreed-upon value coverage, if your classic car is totaled, you’ll receive the full agreed-upon value minus your deductible. Our policies also offer inflation guard, nationwide roadside assistance with flatbed towing, rollover miles, and more.
To learn more, call us today at 888-901-1338, or get an instant quote online here.