Ontario is currently experiencing an alarming surge in car thefts. According to the Ontario government, a car is being stolen every 48 minutes, a 72% increase since 2021. In the first three months of 2023, 6,000 vehicles were stolen across Toronto, Niagara, Hamilton, Durham, and Peel.
The Rising Rate of Car Theft in Ontario
Several factors contribute to the increasing rate of car theft in Ontario. One key factor is the sophisticated methods employed by organized criminal networks, which have become adept at circumventing modern vehicle security systems. Through the use of advanced hacking techniques or bypassing keyless entry systems, thieves can gain access to and steal vehicles with relative ease.
The high demand for stolen vehicle parts also fuels this criminal activity. The police have reported seeing a specific trend of Ontario’s stolen vehicles being shipped to Montreal and then shipped overseas, often to the Middle East or Europe.
The valuable components of popular car models, such as engines, transmissions, and catalytic converters can fetch significant sums on the black market. This motivates thieves to target specific vehicles that possess parts in high demand, increasing the likelihood of theft for the ten cars listed below.
The Top 10 Most Frequently Stolen Cars in Ontario
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado and Sierra 1500
Land Rover/Range Rover
Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler
Toyota Highlander, Tacoma, and Rav 4
Steps Being Taken to Combat Vehicle Theft in Ontario
Ontario recently announced that it would be spending $51 million over three years to try and combat the high rates of auto thefts. Part of the funds will be allocated towards creating an organized crime and auto theft team, which will be led by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). Additionally, a portion of the funds will be allocated toward a grant for police services. This grant aims to provide supplementary tools, support, and resources to combat auto theft effectively. It will enable the acquisition of cutting-edge technology for locating and identifying stolen vehicles, while also facilitating public awareness campaigns on the matter.
Insurance companies in the province of Quebec were able to slow down the impact of vehicle theft by offering incentives to vehicle owners who install tracking devices in their cars. The province of Ontario is now looking to implement similar initiatives to combat vehicle theft as this province appears to have now become a more attractive location for car theft compared to Quebec. Some insurance companies in Ontario are introducing new measures to protect vehicle owners and mitigate financial losses.
The Impact on Ontario Insurance Premiums
As car theft rates continue to climb, some insurance companies in Ontario have had to give notice of adjustments to their premiums to account for this increased risk. One such measure is the introduction of surcharges for owners of vehicles that fall within the top 10 most frequently stolen list. If your car is among these models, some insurance companies may begin to charge an additional $500 on top of your regular premium to cover the elevated risk.
Alternatively, some insurers offer a more cost-effective solution by offering the option to install a tracking device in your vehicle. By paying $250, you can equip your car with a tracker that can aid in its recovery in case of theft. This option not only helps deter thieves but also facilitates the location and retrieval of your vehicle, potentially minimizing losses. Your Ontario insurance broker can provide additional information and answer any questions you may have.
Vehicle Theft Prevention Tips
Taking steps to protect your vehicle from theft is of paramount importance in today's world. Theft prevention measures not only safeguard your investment but also help maintain your peace of mind.
Here are some measures you can take to safeguard your vehicle.
- Lock Your Car: Always lock your car, even if you are leaving it unattended for a short period of time. Double-check that all windows are closed, and the sunroof is fully secured.
- Park in Well-Lit Areas: When parking, choose well-lit and populated areas whenever possible. Thieves are less likely to target vehicles in areas with high visibility.
- Install an Alarm System: Consider installing a reliable car alarm system that can deter thieves and alert you and others nearby in case of unauthorized entry or tampering.
- Use a Steering Wheel Lock: Utilize a visible and sturdy steering wheel lock, such as a steering wheel immobilizer. These devices make it difficult for thieves to steer your vehicle even if they manage to break in. Just seeing one may discourage a thief.
- Install a Vehicle Tracking System: Consider installing a GPS tracking system that allows you to locate your vehicle in real-time if it is stolen. This can significantly increase the chances of recovery and it may lower your insurance premium.
- Keep Valuables Hidden: Avoid leaving valuable items, such as wallets, purses, or electronics, in plain sight. Thieves are more likely to target vehicles with visible valuable items.
- Secure Your Keys: Keep your keys in a safe place and never leave them unattended or easily accessible. Thieves can quickly grab your keys and steal your car when given the opportunity.
What to do if Your Car is Stolen: Insurance Procedures and Recovery
Discovering that your vehicle has been stolen can be an overwhelming and distressing experience. However, it is crucial to remain calm and take the following steps promptly:
Contact the Police - As soon as you realize your car has been stolen, contact the local authorities and provide them with all the necessary information, including the make, model, colour, and license plate number of your vehicle. They will create a police report, which you will need for insurance purposes.
Notify Your Insurance Broker - Immediately inform your insurance broker about the theft. Provide them with the police report number and any other relevant information they may require. They will guide you through the claim process and provide instructions on the necessary documentation.
Gather Required Documentation - Your insurance broker will likely request specific documents to support your claim. These may include the police report, a copy of your vehicle's registration, proof of ownership, and any other evidence related to the theft.
Work with Investigators - Depending on the circumstances, insurance companies may enlist the help of specialized investigators to aid in the recovery process. These professionals utilize various techniques, including collaboration with law enforcement agencies, to locate and retrieve stolen vehicles.
Replacement or Compensation - If your car is not recovered, your insurance company will assess the situation and provide compensation based on the terms of your policy. This compensation typically takes into account the vehicle's market value at the time of the theft, minus any applicable deductibles.
The rising rate of car theft in Ontario poses significant challenges for vehicle owners and insurance companies, leading some insurance companies to implement measures to mitigate the associated risks. The introduction of surcharges for owners of the top 10 most frequently stolen cars, as well as the option to install tracking devices, aims to protect policyholders and assist in recovering stolen vehicles.
Car owners must remain vigilant and take appropriate security measures to safeguard their vehicles. This includes utilizing anti-theft devices, parking in well-lit areas, and adopting safe practices such as never leaving valuables inside the vehicle.
In the unfortunate event that your car is stolen, promptly contacting the police and your insurance broker, and providing all necessary documentation, will expedite the recovery process. While the experience can be distressing, working closely with law enforcement and your insurance broker will help you navigate the situation and minimize financial losses. Remember, by staying informed and taking preventive measures, you can play an active role in combating car theft and protecting your valuable assets.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as professional insurance advice. The coverage, terms, and conditions of each insurance policy are unique and subject to individual circumstances. The information provided does not guarantee the availability or suitability of any insurance policy for your specific needs. You should not rely on the information in the blog as an alternative to professional advice from your insurance broker or insurance company. If you have any specific questions about any insurance matter, please consult a licensed insurance broker for personalized advice and guidance.