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Car theft is on the rise in Canada. According to Équité Association, some provinces have seen a 50 per cent increase year over year, which has cost the insurance industry more than a billion dollars. 

Even if you haven’t been affected by car theft, it’s still a national crisis. New and used cars are getting more expensive.

At the same time, thieves are getting smarter, and stolen cars appeal to criminal organizations looking to profit.

To ensure you’re not an easy target, you should take preventative steps to protect yourself.

Easy Ways To Prevent Car Theft 

Although many vehicles have built-in security systems, it’s not hard for criminals to bypass those preventative measures. To keep yourself protected, you should use a multi-layer approach.

The more precautions you take, the less likely your car will be stolen.

Lock Your Doors

Although it may sound like an obvious thing to do, only some people lock their doors. This is an invitation for thieves to steal your car. Even if you live in a safe and friendly neighbourhood, you should lock your doors, as criminals, not your neighbours, are interested in stealing your car.

Park In A Garage

If you have access to a garage, parking in it creates one additional barrier that potential thieves have to get through to access your car. Be sure your garage doors are secured and locked.

Parking In Well-Lit Areas Can Deter Car Theft

Whenever there’s no garage available, the next best thing is to park in a well-lit area. The idea is that thieves will be deterred by the bring lights as someone may spot them.

Keep Your Fob Safe Inside Your House With RFID

It’s possible for thieves to use signal amplifiers to steal the signal from your fob that’s inside your home. Once they have that signal, they can clone your key and drive away. To protect yourself, keep your keys in an RFID signal blocking pouch or box.

Keep Valuables Out Of Sight

Don’t make your car an easy target by exposing any valuables you may have. Something as simple as a trunk cargo cover could go a long way.

Use A Steering Wheel Lock

An anti-theft steering wheel lock makes car thieves think twice. This device is clearly visible on the steering wheel, and it would make it very difficult for criminals to drive your car. 

Get A Wheel Lock

Although some may consider it extreme, a wheel lock is a great way to deter thieves. Also known as a Denver Boot, this anti-theft clamp can even be good for those that park inside, as it’s another obstacle thieves likely don’t want to deal with. 

Install An Alarm System

If your car doesn’t already have a car alarm system, installing one is a one-time cost that could go a long way. Even if your vehicle already has an alarm system, you could upgrade it for added protection.

Install A GPS Tracking System

Once a car is stolen, it can be hard to get back. However, if you install a GPS tracking system, you can let the police know exactly where your vehicle is. If you install a GPS tracker, make sure it’s somewhere that’s not easily seen, such as the side storage of your trunk or inside the rear bumper.

How Theft Affects Your Auto Insurance Policy

With theft on the rise, it’s a good idea to read your auto insurance policy to find out what you’re covered for. The reality is that as car thefts increase, so do the cost of insurance policies.

That’s because the insurance companies need to take in more money than they’re paying out. Some things in your policy to look out for include:

  • Your Policy Details. Most insurance policies have comprehensive coverage that includes theft. However, if your car is stolen, your insurance company will typically only pay for the current value of the car. That means you might get less than what you owe.
  • Deductible. Just about every car insurance policy has a deductible. That’s the amount you need to pay the insurance company to get your payout. The higher your deductible, the lower your monthly payments tend to be.
  • Premiums. Even if you’re not at fault and file an insurance claim, your auto insurance claims may increase since you could now be flagged as a higher risk. If you haven’t purchased a car yet, it’s worth checking which vehicles have an increased theft rate, as those cars will likely have higher insurance premiums.
  • Anti-Theft Discount. Although it might only make a minor difference, insurance companies might provide a slight discount if you have anti-theft measures in place, such as a steering lock and parking underground.

Home Insurance And Car Theft

Most people will assume that only auto insurance will apply to car theft, but your home insurance policy can also come into play in the following situations:

  • Personal Belongings. Your home insurance policy will typically cover Any personal belongings in your car when it was stolen. This coverage will also apply if your car is stolen off your property.
  • Limits And Exclusions. Even though personal items are typically covered from car theft, you need to check the limits and exclusions as some items, such as jewelry, may not be covered.
  • Property Damage. If your property is damaged during a car theft, such as your garage door, mailbox, driveway, etc., your home insurance should cover any costs of repairs.
  • Deductible And Premiums. Similar to car insurance, if you’re making a home insurance claim, you may need to pay a deductible, and your premiums may increase. If the cost of repairs is not much more than your deductible, it might make more sense to pay for the damages out of pocket to avoid a claim.

The Bottom Line

Car theft has become a serious issue that every driver needs to be aware of. By taking some preventative steps, you can reduce the chances of your auto being stolen. In addition, it’s important to review your auto and home insurance policies to see how car theft is addressed. If you’re concerned about your coverage, it may be time to update your policy.

Car Theft And Insurance - FAQs

Can a thief copy my key fob if I keep it in the house?
Yes, your key fob is not as safe as you think inside your house. Thieves can use signal amplifiers to copy your key fob signal. Once they have it, they can access your car. Keeping your fob in a RFID-blocking box can help.
Which province had the highest spike in car thefts last year?
According to Équité Association, Quebec had a 50 percent spike in car thefts last year.
What is the most stolen vehicle in Canada?
According to Équité Association, the most stolen vehicle in Canada last year was The Honda CRV.
How much car insurance coverage is best?
Each situation is different, however your car insurance should cover the cost of replacing your car and/or paying off any outstanding car loan on the vehicle. You need to consider if you want to replace your car with the same make and model year or if you prefer coverage to give you the latest model.
Do I need to bundle my home and auto insurance?
You are not required to bundle your home and auto insurance. However, it can result in savings. Your insurance provider can reduce the total cost of premiums since they insure you for both your home and your vehicle.
Barry Choi avatar on Loans Canada
Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a personal finance and travel expert at moneywehave.com. He makes frequent media appearances where he talks about all things related to money and travel.

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