How to protect yourself against car thieves
Last updated on February 16th, 2023
The current global vehicle shortage and long wait times have had a direct impact on the spike in cases of auto theft. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), 35 vehicles are stolen every day in Québec. So how can you minimize the risks of becoming a target? Here are some handy tips to help protect your vehicle against theft.
How to you know if your vehicle is a target
To find out whether your vehicle may be a high-profile target, it’s good to know which models get stolen most.
According to IBC, the top 10 most stolen vehicles in Québec in 2021 were the Honda CR-V, Ford Series F pickup truck, Lexus NX, Honda Civic, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Tacoma, Chrysler Grand Caravan, Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla, and Lexus RX. If you own one of these models, remember that the risk of theft is higher than for other vehicles.
So how do you reduce the risk of having your car stolen? Motivated thieves are hard to stop, but there are things you can do to discourage them.
Obviously, the first thing to do when leaving your vehicle unattended is to turn off the engine, close the windows and roof, and lock the doors and trunk. It may seem like common sense, but too many motorists overlook these simple steps. Even if you only leave your vehicle for a few minutes, that’s plenty long enough for a car thief to strike!
When exiting your vehicle, be sure not to leave any valuables out in the open, such as a laptop or other electronic device. Don’t leave any personal belongings in your car, especially your wallet or registration and proof of insurance. Why? If a thief makes off with your car and gets stopped by the police, they could use them to say that you lent them your vehicle!
If you do need to leave something important in your vehicle, try to hide it somewhere, like a dashboard compartment, the glove box, or your trunk—and lock it up if possible.
Lastly, try to park your vehicle in a well-lit and highly visible location. A private underground parking lot is your best bet, but if that’s not an option, choose a busy area over a quiet spot. Vehicles parked in visible, well-lit areas are a lot less attractive to car thieves.
Know the latest car theft trends
Thieves have upped their game significantly in recent years and now have some pretty ingenious tricks that allow them to drive off with your car more inconspicuously than before. For example, with the advent of keyless entry systems, some thieves have figured out how to copy your key fob signal and unlock your vehicle as if it were theirs!
To counter this, you may want to pick up a secure container for your fob (such as a Faraday box or pouch) to block your fob’s signal so thieves can’t copy it. Just leave your car keys in the box when you’re at home to limit the risk of theft.
Tracking systems can also be an effective way to protect your car against theft. Some car manufacturers equip all their vehicles with a standard tracking system so you can track your vehicle (by GPS or another method) if it is stolen. For added security, you can also install a TAG tracker, which is a higher-end system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID). Its anti-jamming technology automatically detects if your vehicle is stolen—without you having to call it in—and can even pick up signals from vehicles packed up in shipping containers. This technology deters many a thief!
However, remember that vehicles aren’t the only thing car thieves steal. They also steal specific parts, such as catalytic converters. It’s a problem that’s skyrocketed in recent years. To minimize the risk of stolen parts, equip your vehicle with a good anti-theft system and proximity sensor. When would-be thieves approach, the alarm goes off.
Also, if you have the option, have a surveillance camera installed in your driveway. That way, if a thief manages to nab your vehicle, you’ll be able to see what happened. This information could help police find the culprit and, hopefully, your vehicle.
But what if it happens to you?
In reality, there’s no foolproof way to protect yourself against a crafty car thief. In the unfortunate event your vehicle does get stolen, don’t panic! Start by reporting it to the police and then contact your insurer. It is important to make these calls as soon as possible after you realize you’ve been robbed.
Pro tip: When you contact your insurer, be sure to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. If you think you might bear some responsibility (like if you left your door unlocked), it’s better to say so upfront. If the officer has reason to believe that you lied on your report, it may result in additional delays in the investigation and the findings may be biased.
And to give yourself total peace of mind should your vehicle be stolen, add “Comprehensive” or “All perils other than collision or upset” coverage to your car insurance. Be sure to talk to your damage insurance representative if you have any questions. We’re THERE for you!