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Auto thefts are spiking insurance costs – here’s what Canadians can do about it

As an insurance broker in Ontario and Quebec, clients often ask us why they’re paying more and more for auto insurance. If they have a clean driving record, drive a reliable vehicle, and are still seeing significant cost hikes year over year, what gives?

It’s important to note that the overall state of the auto industry affects premiums, and one major factor in the jump in Canadian auto insurance costs over the last few years is an increase in car theft.

The rate of auto thefts in Canada is at a historic high, with Ontario and Quebec in the lead. The Liberal government is set to hold a summit in February to talk about possible solutions. In the meantime, crazy auto theft rates mean more costly car insurance for Canadians. As we begin 2024, drivers should be informed of the risks of auto thefts in their region, including how this will affect their insurance costs, and what they can do about it.

Auto thefts by the numbers:

In 2022, Canadian insurers paid out a record $1 billion in insurance claims for stolen vehicles. From 2018 to 2022, Ontario experienced a 329 per cent increase in auto theft claims costs, while vehicle thefts were up 50 per cent from 2022 to 2023 in Quebec, as reported by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Unfortunately for the average auto insurance client, this surge has direct financial implications (even if it’s not your vehicle that’s been stolen!).

Impact on consumers:

While a high rate of thefts increase premiums for everyone, drivers that own vehicles with a high-risk of theft experienced a 25 per cent to 50 per cent increase on comprehensive auto insurance plans from 2022 to 2023. The heightened risk of auto theft has also prompted insurance companies to implement surcharges of up to $500 on high-risk vehicles. If clients want to avoid this surcharge, some insurance providers are now requiring the installation of a $500 tracking system.The terms vary from insurer to insurer, with some companies reimbursing the cost of installation while others do not.

High-theft models:

According to Équité Associations, popular models like the Honda CR-V, Ford F-Series, and Dodge Ram 1500 Series currently face a much higher risk of theft. The organization releases an annual list of the top 10 most (and least) stolen vehicles in 2023. If you’re in the market for a new car, it’s a good idea to be familiar with this list – and avoid purchasing high risk models if you can.

Canada as a source country:

Canada has become a source country for stolen vehicles, where stolen cars are either shipped overseas or sold domestically with fraudulent documentation. Hotspots in the country unsurprisingly include large port cities like Toronto and Montreal.

Protecting Canadians and their vehicles: Tips for Ontario and Quebec residents:

If you live in a high theft area or own a vehicle that’s landed on the high theft rate list, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the best auto insurance rate possible, while keeping your car secure.

Install Security Measures: Invest in anti-theft devices and consider installing tracking systems like TAG to deter thieves and meet the vehicle security requirements of your insurance company. Be sure to park your vehicle in a well-lit area, and in a secure parking garage if possible.

Review and compare insurance policies: Regularly review your insurance policies, compare providers, and explore discounts. Companies offer incentives for security measures, safe driving records, and bundled home and auto insurance policies. Ask your insurance broker about the best way for you to save.

Stay informed: Keep up to date with emerging security technologies and crime trends in your area and adapt your vehicle security measures accordingly. Take precautions to keep your vehicle safe by parking in secure areas, installing cameras, or a steering wheel lock.

Looking ahead

Increased auto thefts puts extra demands on Canadians wallets, particularly in high theft areas. As we begin 2024, take extra security measures to protect your vehicle, and speak with your insurance provider about the best ways to save in the current climate. Last but not least – if you’re in the market for a new car, do your research, and avoid high theft models.

As president of KBD Insurance, Curtis Killen aims to simplify insurance for his clients.

He has helped lead KBD to become one of Canada’s 400 fastest growing companies according to the Globe & Mail.