Car theft in Canada is on the rise. On average, a car is stolen every 6 minutes1. But don’t worry – you can avoid being a statistic by preparing ahead to avoid the theft of your car and its parts. These days, new technology and modern features are making vehicles even more attractive to thieves. We’re here to address some of the most common theft concerns that have popped up in recent years, and how your insurance could help.
How do thieves steal keyless cars?
Thieves can easily steal a car (even modern cars) without even having the physical key. They do this by copying your vehicle’s key code through an external transceiver, which then acts as an additional key. This is known as a “relay attack”. Since keyless fobs only work within a certain distance of a car, thieves use special equipment to amplify the communication signals. Experienced thieves can copy a car key in less than two minutes.
If you live in a high theft area it might be a good idea to get comprehensive coverage which provides coverage if your car is stolen.
How can I prevent my car from being stolen?
To help prevent your car from being stolen, don’t hang your car fob by the front entrance. Car keys should be kept well away from doors and windows. Instead, put them in a screened box/tin/bag so that the signal can't be 'grabbed' from the outside and used to open your car.
Which is the most stolen car in Canada?
The number one stolen car in Canada in 2021 was actually a truck (the 2018 Ford F-150 Series, to be exact)2. This may be because in oil regions such as Alberta, many oil and gas companies exclusively rely on trucks as their company vehicles. And hey, a company car can easily be replaced on the company’s dime, right?
The second most stolen car in Canada in 2021 was the 2018 Honda CR-V Series. This is partly because there’s a high demand for this model and resale value of parts. Other cars that made the top ten list are high-end SUVs which are harder to get outside of North America. Ultimately, many stolen cars are chopped up for their parts.
What is a catalytic converter and why do they get stolen?
A catalytic converter is a part of your car’s exhaust system that helps reduce pollutants. What makes it valuable to scrap metal dealers are the trace amounts of precious metals. Since it’s located under a car, thieves can easily unbolt it or cut it off in a matter of minutes. And because there’s no serial number that traces it back to an individual car, there’s really no way to prove if it was stolen or not.
To give you a better idea of why people steal them, a catalytic converter can sell anywhere from $100 to $500 on the black market. But as a consumer, if you have to buy a replacement, they cost around $2,500 to $4,500.
How can I prevent my catalytic converter from getting stolen?
While there’s no foolproof way to prevent this, you can take your catalytic converter to an auto specialist and have your vehicle’s serial number engraved on it. Another best practice for keeping your car safe is to always park in a well-lit, secure area, or if you can, keep your car in your garage.
Does my auto insurance cover catalytic converter theft?
If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, then your insurer could cover the replacement of a stolen catalytic converter. But, always double-check with your insurer what your car insurance policy does and doesn’t cover (including stolen car parts). It’s also worth making sure your policy includes rental car coverage, since you might have to wait for this expensive part to first arrive and then be installed onto your car.
What is carjacking?
Carjacking is when someone steals a car from the driver by force or intimidation. On the other hand, car theft is when the driver isn’t present when the vehicle is stolen. Both situations are super frustrating (and carjacking can be dangerous) but thankfully there are some best practices to help you and your car stay safe.
How can I prevent carjacking?
First things first, if you’re in a carjacking situation, give the person your keys and let them have your car. It’s not worth risking your life trying to protect your vehicle. Then once you are safe, you should call the police and then your auto insurance provider to report what happened.
Here are a few handy tips to keep in mind regarding carjacking.
Always have your cell phone handy. You may not be able to immediately call 9-1-1 if someone is in the middle of demanding the keys to your car. But when it’s safe to do so, call the police immediately with a detailed description of what happened. Note things like what the person was wearing, their height, and any other key details.
Always be aware of your surroundings. If you have a feeling that you’re being followed or if you notice someone acting suspicious, notify your local authorities right away. It doesn’t hurt to be on the safe side.
Avoid being alone in your vehicle in certain areas. It’s best to avoid parking in high crime neighbourhoods or areas with minimal bystanders.
Park in well-lit areas. Before you park your car, check to make sure there are streetlights. If you don’t feel comfortable walking back to your car alone, try to find someone who can accompany you.
Install a tracking system in your car. If your car is stolen, a vehicle recovery system will use wireless GPS technology that notifies you and/or the police of your vehicle’s location. Hopefully your car won’t get very far!
How does carjacking affect car insurance premiums?
Well, it’s possible that the rise in carjackings could affect your car insurance premiums. Look at it this way – when there’s an increased risk of something bad happening to your car, that cost needs to be accounted for by insurers. For example, if you live in an area that has a high crime rate when it comes to stolen cars, you could be paying more for your car insurance since there are more claims for car theft in your area.
Remember, when it comes to car insurance, it’s important to note that basic car insurance policies provide liability coverage, but coverage for theft isn’t automatically included. If you want protection against car theft, you’ll want to make sure you have comprehensive coverage on your policy. If you’re a victim of carjacking, like with submitting any other auto claim, your premium may increase.
Having your whole car stolen, or even just a part, is really stressful. But having more knowledge about how to proactively protect yourself will help. If the worst happens, know that with the right coverage, your car insurance provider will be there for you to help you get back onto the road as quickly as possible.