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How to protect yourself from vehicle theft

September 25, 2023

A car is stolen every 6 minutes on average in Canada – so, while it’s easy to think it won’t happen to you, it’s important to take precautions to ensure you don’t fall victim to this type of crime.1 Here’s everything you need to know to not only reduce your risk of being targeted by vehicle theft, but also to help avoid all the other common headaches that come along with it, like added stress, premium increases, and more. 

Which vehicles are most likely to be stolen? 

Newer vehicles tend to be at higher risk of theft1, which is due in large part to technological advances, like smart key systems, that have made it easier than ever for thieves to get quick access to your car. This is because many now use key-programming machines to pick up on your key fob’s electronic signals, reprogram a blank key, and unlock your vehicle. Larger vehicles also tend to be at higher risk of theft, like SUVs, 4x4s, pickup trucks and luxury vehicles.

According to Équité Association, these were the top 10 stolen vehicles in Canada in 2021:

  1. Honda CR-V
  2. Lexus RX Series
  3. Ford F-150 Series
  4. Honda Civic
  5. Toyota Highlander
  6. RAM 1500 Series
  7. Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra
  8. Honda Accord
  9. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  10. Toyota RAV4  

Where does auto theft typically occur? 

Vehicle theft tends to be more common in cities with large populations and generally takes place at night, directly in a private driveway, or during the day in areas around shopping centres and movie theatres. Thieves may also target morning commuters at park-and-rides near bus, train and metro terminals because they know they’ll have plenty of time to operate discreetly before the theft is reported several hours later.2

How can you prevent vehicle theft?  

Install an anti-theft vehicle tracking system 

Using an anti-theft vehicle tracking system is an effective way to combat vehicle theft. This type of system typically consists of a set of small wireless devices that are installed in your vehicle to help locate and recover it if it’s stolen. Many systems also include a discreet logo that’s engraved on both the windscreen of your vehicle and the most popular resale parts to further deter theft.

Tag Tracking is a popular anti-theft tracking system, but there are others on the market too, like Kycs Locate® (powered by Sherlock) and Domino© VINlock.

What are the benefits of installing an anti-theft tracking system?

These systems are gaining in popularity because they’re not only one of the most effective defenses against theft, but they also help promote vehicle recovery, too. So, not only is it less likely that your vehicle will be stolen in the first place, but you’ll also have to deal with fewer inconveniences after the theft because there’s a greater change your vehicle will be located.

Plus, if you have privacy concerns, you can rest easy knowing they typically only track your vehicle’s location once you’ve reported it stolen.

What’s more – installing this type of system can also help you avoid a premium increase if you drive a make or model that your provider considers at high-risk.  

Have you been asked to install an anti-theft tracking system? 

It’s common for insurers to require that you install a tracking system for certain vehicle types   and models. If you’ve been asked to install a Tag Tracking system (or you’ve decided that you’d like to install one on your own), be sure to follow these steps:

Find your nearest Speedy Glass®*

Make an appointment to have your system installed

Once installation is complete, contact your insurer to share your Tag Tracking number and installation date 


Other ways to prevent theft

Invest in security features 

Consider using a steering wheel lock, brake lock, or on-board diagnostic (ODB) port lock to make it difficult for someone to drive your car away. You may also want to consider additional security measures, such as signal-blocking pouches to prevent electronic key signal theft. Also try to avoid leaving your keys unattended or in obvious places and, if you have a spare key, don't hide it inside the car.

Take additional precautions 

Always take valuables – like your laptop, purse and phone – with you when you leave your vehicle, or if that’s not possible, secure them out of sight and double-check that your car is locked. Try to choose parking spots that are well-lit, highly trafficked and that have surveillance cameras and, if you have a garage, store your vehicle there overnight.  Or block in your vehicle with a less desirable vehicle if parking in the driveway.

What should you do if your car is stolen? 

Here are a few simple steps to follow:

  1. As soon as you notice the loss, contact the police. Keep in mind that a police report is typically required before you contact your insurer and – in some cases – may be required before your anti-theft tracking company is able to begin tracking your car. If you have an anti-theft tracking system, contact them to advise that your vehicle has been stolen.
  2. Next, contact your insurance company or file your claim online. Have the following information on hand:
  • The location of the theft
  • The police report number
  • Contact information of any witnesses to the theft
  • Your insurance policy or car insurance certificate number

Once your claim is opened, your claims advisor will review your file and contact you to discuss next steps. 

Key takeaways 

There are many ways you can reduce your risk of becoming a victim of vehicle theft – and the more layers of protection you invest in, the less likely you are to be targeted. In the event your vehicle is stolen, having an anti-theft tracking system also improves the chances that it will be recovered. Take a moment to consider how you can act now to keep yourself and your car safe.

1 ASSOCIATION CANADIENNE DE FINANCEMENT ET DE LOCATION. ILLEGAL EXPORTS Addressing the Problem of Exported Stolen Vehicles, [Online], 2023.

2 AUBIN, Erika. « Recrudescence des vols de voiture », Journal de Montréal, [Online], May 31, 2021. (French only)

*Speedy Glass® is a registered trademark of Belron S.A. and its affiliated companies.

These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and Desjardins cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.