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Every 7 Minutes a Car in Canada is Stolen -- Your Car May be Next

Know the facts about motor vehicle theft and prevention

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), auto theft and insurance fraud costs Canadians almost $500 million each year.

Of course, certain makes and models are more attractive than others. In fact, Ford pickup trucks, Chevrolet Escalades, and Honda Civics made the top ten stolen vehicles list for the second year in a row in 2014. Yet many who own these vehicles may not be aware of the risks.

The IBC reports that a motor vehicle is stolen every 7 minutes in Canada. New tactics include acquiring smart keys (which eliminate the need to hot-wire), switching VINs, using stolen identities to secure loans for expensive vehicles and breaking into homes to steal keys.

Vehicle theft happens around the country – no region is exempt. Statistics Canada found that Ontario and Quebec reported the greatest number of thefts in 2014, with the two provinces reporting 16,410 and 17,766 incidents, respectively. However, it is noteworthy that Alberta reported nearly as many incidents as Ontario – in a province with about 1/3 the population of Ontario.

According to the IBC, vehicle theft also knows no class, as it happens more frequently to more common cars - likely because their parts are in greater demand. The top ten most stolen cars of 2014 are:

  1. Ford F350 super-duty 4WD Pickup, 2007
  2. Ford F350 super-duty 4WD Pickup, 2006
  3. Ford F250 super-duty 4WD Pickup, 2007
  4. Cadillac Escalade 4-door 4WD SUV, 2003
  5. Ford F350 super-duty 4WD Pickup, 2005
  6. Honda Civic 2-door Coupe, 1999
  7. Ford F350 super-duty 4WD Pickup, 2004
  8. Ford F250 super-duty 4WD Pickup, 2006
  9. Honda Civic SiR 2-door, 2000
  10. Ford F350 super-duty 4WD Pickup, 2003

Be Smart - Use Common Sense

While vehicle theft is more common than you think, it turns out that all you need is a little common sense to prevent it. Auto fast factsThe IBC recommends that drivers adhere to the following best practices:

  • Always take your key - don't leave it in or on your vehicle
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park
  • Park in well-lit areas - in a garage, whenever possible
  • Never leave valuables in your vehicle, and especially not in plain sight
  • Don’t leave the area while your vehicle is running
  • Give only your ignition key to a parking lot attendant
  • Keep your vehicle registration certificate and proof of insurance on you – not in the glove compartment

In addition to these common sense tactics, there are new anti-theft features that can help minimize theft and even find your car after it’s been stolen. GPS tracking devices can be installed in your car, and if it’s stolen, can be used to pinpoint your car’s exact location remotely from your home computer. VIN etching, which marks your VIN number clearly on windows and other parts of your car prevents theft because chop shops generally won’t accept parts stamped with a VIN for fear they could be traced. And finally, don’t underestimate the old steering wheel lock that has been proven to deter potential thieves looking for an easy target.

Protect Yourself: Insure Your Car

Beyond safeguarding your actions around vehicle use and employing anti-theft agents, the only other way to prevent heavy losses should your vehicle be stolen is to insure your car.

A comprehensive insurance policy can make sure you’re not left without a ride, as certain policies will help cover the costs of a rental car and even contribute to replacing your vehicle. Contact your HUB broker who can help you secure the right coverage based on your provincial requirements, car make and model and desired limits.