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How to protect yourself from vehicle theft

May 6, 2024

On average, a car is stolen every 5 minutes in Canada External link.. While it's easy to think it won't happen to you, there are a few precautions everyone should take to protect themselves against this type of crime.1 Here's how you can take a multi-step approach to protect yourself against car theft and all the inconveniences you'll have to deal with if this unfortunate situation ever happens to you, such as higher insurance premiums and a whole lot of stress!

Which vehicles are most likely to be stolen? 

Newer vehicles tend to be at higher risk of being stolen.2 This is primarily due to technological advancements like smart keys, which criminals can use to their advantage. In fact, many thieves use devices to capture the radio signals these keys emit. This allows them to program new keys they can use to get into cars. Larger vehicles like SUVs, 4X4 trucks, minivans and luxury cars are also attractive to thieves.

According to Équité Association3, these were the top 10 stolen vehicles in Canada in 2022:

  1. Honda CR-V
  2. Dodge Ram 1500
  3. Ford F-150
  4. Lexus RX
  5. Toyota Highlander
  6. Honda Civic
  7. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  8. Land Rover Range Rover
  9. Chevrolet / GMC Silverado / Sierra
  10. Jeep Wrangler

Where do most car thefts happen? 

Vehicles are more likely to get stolen in major urban centres. Your car is also more likely to get stolen at night while parked in a private driveway, or outside a shopping mall or movie theatre during the day. Transit terminals (like bus, train and metro station parking lots) also tend to be hotspots. Thieves watch commuters park their cars in the morning, knowing they'll have lots of time to get into the car and drive away before the theft is reported many hours later.2

How can you prevent your car from being stolen?  

Install an anti-theft vehicle tracking device

These systems usually involve placing of a set of wireless devices inside your vehicle to help you find it if it ever gets stolen. Some services also etch a logo on your windows and parts with a high resale value. The Tag® tracking system External link. is very popular , but you can also check out KYCS Locate, powered by Sherlock, and Domino© Tracking by Vin-Lock.

What are the advantages of an anti-theft tracking system?

These systems are gaining popularity. Not just because they're very efficient at protecting your car against theft, but also because they can help you recover your vehicle after it's been stolen. In other words, they help reduce your risk of car theft and help you avoid the headaches that tend to arise when your car gets stolen, since you're more likely to get it back.

If you're concerned about protecting your privacy, rest assured that most systems will only start tracking your vehicle after it's been reported stolen. Your supplier can provide you with more details about their practices for locating your vehicle.

And if you drive a vehicle that your insurer considers high-risk or vulnerable to theft, installing a tracking and recovery system can help you avoid a premium increase or limit how much it will go up.

Were you asked to install an anti-theft tracking system? 

If your Desjardins Insurance property and casualty insurance agent has suggested getting a Tag tracking system for your vehicle, or if you want to get one for peace of mind, here's what you need to do:

Other ways to prevent theft

Invest in security equipment

You can physically lock your steering wheel or brakes with a device, or cover up your on-board diagnostics (OBD) system to discourage thieves from targeting your car. You can also keep your car key in a special pouch or metal container to prevent it from emitting radio signals that thieves can use to clone it. Never leave your key unattended or keep it in an obvious place. If you have a spare key, don't hide it in your car.

Does your car have a keyless system? The Secure Fob system could be right for you. This motion-sensitive chip tracks your key at all times and disables the battery 3 minutes after it was last moved, making it undetectable by potential thieves.4

Take extra precautions 

Never leave valuables in your car unattended. Bring your laptop, wallet and cellphone with you wherever you go. If you can't bring them with you, keep them in the trunk and double-check to make sure everything is locked.

Whenever you can, park in busy, well-lit areas with security cameras. If you have access to a garage, keep your vehicle inside at night. 

What should you do if your vehicle gets stolen? 

Here are a few simple steps to follow:

  1. Call the police from the scene of the crime as soon as you realize your car's been stolen. You'll need to file a police report before you contact your insurer. If your car has a tracking system, report the incident to your service provider.
  2. Next, contact your insurance company or file your claim online. You'll need:
  • The location where your car was stolen
  • The number provided to you when you filed your police report
  • The contact information for any potential witnesses
  • The number on your auto insurance policy

Once a claim has been submitted, your claims advisor will review your file and will contact you to discuss the next steps. 

In summary 

There are a number of ways to protect your car against theft. The more you invest in security equipment, the less likely thieves will be to target your vehicle. If your vehicle does get stolen, having a tracking and recovery system increases the chances of getting your car back. Take a minute to think about what you can do to protect yourself and your vehicle.

Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc., provider of home, auto and business insurance products.

These tips are for information and prevention purposes only. They're general in nature and Desjardins Insurance can't be held liable for them. You should always use caution and consult a subject matter expert to get detailed advice tailored to your unique situation.

INSURANCE BUREAU OF CANADA. End Auto Theft External link..

2 Voici le parcours emprunté par les véhicules volés au Canada | Radio-Canada External link. (French only)

Top 10 most stolen vehicules ( External link.

4 Desjardins has no affiliation with Secure Fob. It's not responsible for Secure Fob products or information, or the accuracy of such information.

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