Canada’s auto theft crisis: What it means for your ride and your insurance

5 years in the past, auto insurance coverage firms in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and the Atlantic provinces paid out $400 million in theft claims. In 2022, that determine ballooned to $1.2 billion, the worst on report. Amanda Dean, interim vp of Ontario area for the Insurance coverage Bureau of Canada, says the state of affairs isn’t possible to enhance for 2023. 

“As theft charges enhance, and together with it claims prices, insurers are actually frightened about what the long run might maintain,” she says. For drivers, even these with no historical past of theft or harm, auto insurance coverage is more likely to get dearer as long as theft charges stay excessive. Luckily, specialists say there are some issues drivers can do to attenuate their possibilities of dropping their journey. 

Why automobile theft is on the rise throughout Canada 

Joyriders and opportunists aren’t chargeable for most Canadian automobile thefts, based on insurance coverage specialists. Organized crime teams, utilizing refined strategies, bear a lot of the blame for Canada’s billion-dollar-a-year auto theft downside. 

Bryan Gast is the vp of investigative providers for Équité Affiliation, a nationwide not-for-profit that helps Canadian insurers combat fraud. He says one widespread method is a relay assault: intercepting the radio frequency utilized by a key fob to unlock a automobile remotely. One other is through the use of the digital diagnostic port discovered below a automobile’s steering wheel to reprogram the automobile. 

As soon as inside, a thief can drive away along with your journey and promote it off. In essentially the most excessive instances, it might find yourself smuggled by means of a port—usually on Canada’s jap seaboard, Gast says—and shipped to West Africa or the Center East. “We’ve got 1000’s of autos, which were recognized, that we’re working to repatriate again to Canada,” Gast says. 

Alternatively, a automobile may be given a false car identification quantity (VIN) and used as a automobile by an organized crime group for its operations. Then there are old style “chop outlets,” the place stolen vehicles are stripped down and bought off for components. “It’s extraordinarily profitable,” Gast says.

Specialists blame a few components on the rise in auto thefts over the previous few years. Dean factors to outdated anti-theft requirements for Canadian autos—the final replace, in 2007, was earlier than keyless entry turned a standard characteristic on many vehicles. Then there’s the value of vehicles themselves. Because of persistently-high demand, the typical new car price $66,288 in June 2023, based on Autotrader. 

Probably the most stolen vehicles in Canada

Most of the most-stolen autos in Canada aren’t all that flashy. Gast says the fashions fluctuate by area. In Alberta, for instance, pickup vehicles are excessive on the checklist. Based on Équité Affiliation, essentially the most generally stolen car mannequin in Canada final 12 months was the Honda CR-V. The Ford F-150, Honda Civic and Toyota Highlander—all mainstays of Canadian driveways—made the checklist of prime 5 most stolen autos, as did the Lexus RX, a higher-end mannequin.

Even for those who don’t personal considered one of these autos, Dean says you’re nonetheless on the hook for the continued auto theft epidemic. “Claims made by the few are paid for by the premiums of many—this is likely one of the fundamental ideas of insurance coverage to make sure that claims could be paid.”

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