Insurance for Car Theft: An Answer to a Growing Problem
Everything you need to know about car theft and how insurance can step in to protect you.
Both those numbers are set to increase dramatically.
In 2022, the number of vehicles stolen in Toronto jumped over 45% from the previous year (6,600 to 9,600), and this trend isn’t limited to Ontario’s biggest city. In Belleville, for example, the number of stolen cars in a quarter jumped an unbelievable 340% year over year.
Reversing this trend will take years of public policy debate in which many more cars will be stolen. So the best action you can take is to protect yourself against the costs of replacing your car if its stolen.
This is what car theft insurance is for.
The top 10 most stolen vehicles in Canada
- Honda CR-V (2016–2022)
- Lexus RX Series (2016–2022)
- Ford F150 Series (2015–2022)
- Honda Civic (2016–2022)
- Toyota Highlander (2013–2019)
- Ram 1500 Series (2011–2018)
- Chevy Silverado Series (1999–2006)
- Honda Accord (2018–2022)
- Jeep Grand Cherokee (2011–2020)
- Toyota RAV4 (2013–2018)
Types of car theft insurance coverage
You won’t find specific car theft insurance, per se. Instead, you’ll find it as an element of a couple different kinds of car insurance:
Comprehensive insurance coverage: This kind of insurance provides you with money to cover the car-related costs stemming from incidents that have nothing to do with another driver. These can include weather-related damages, damage caused by falling objects and theft.
All perils insurance coverage: This is insurance to cover damage to your car while someone else is driving it, be it a thief or someone borrowing your car with your permission.
What should you do if your car is stolen?
If you have car theft insurance as part of your policy, the first thing you should do is remain calm because this is precisely why you have car insurance.
Next, you should call the local police (not 911) to file a report. You should know that the likelihood of your car being returned is extremely low but within the information you provide might be an important clue that leads to a major bust and recovery like the one at the beginning of February 2023 when 64 cars stolen in the GTA were found in Malta.
After that, your next step is to contact your insurance company to start a claim. If you have to talk to someone on the phone, it’s important to remain relaxed and calm so they can help you.
Of course, you could also choose to go online with Onlia where even the claims process has been moved online.
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What happens if your stolen car is found?
It will depend on how far along you are in the claims process.
If your insurance company has already settled with you, then they’ll own the recovered car and will do with it as they wish. However, if you’re in the middle of the claims process, the options get more nuanced.
If you find your own car: DO NOT try to retrieve it yourself, as you don’t know who’s watching it. Notify the police, your insurance provider and your lender.
If the police find your car: They’ll contact you because you will have made the claim. Then you can decide what you want to do.
If your car is damaged but still driveable: The insurance company will cover the damage (minus your deductible) but will not give you the money for a new car.
If your stolen car was involved in an accident: You’ll need to provide proof that you weren’t in the car. This should be easy to do, but make sure you do it.
Does car insurance cover what’s inside the car?
This is a hole in car insurance, and one that many people don’t understand until it’s too late: car insurance does NOT cover items in the car; it only covers the car itself.
However, specific coverages of your home insurance policy will cover items in your car. And this is the case whether you rent or own your home.
If you’re in the habit of leaving things in your car (like jewelry, electronics or hockey gear), it would be wise to look at your home insurance policy. And it would be even wiser to bundle your home and car insurance, so you pay less for both. Learn more about how home insurance can help in the event of car theft.
A few ways of preventing car theft
The first and most obvious one is to not give thieves any additional reason to break into your car, like by leaving your sunglasses, phone or wallet on the front console for anyone to see.
A few other measures to take include:
- Store your key fob further away from your front door or driveway to prevent keyless car theft.
- Locking your steering wheel with The Club or something similar to deter old fashioned car thieves from choosing your car to steal when so many others don’t have locks on their steering wheels.
- Putting two trackers (i.e. AirTags) in the car; one you want thieves to find and one you don’t want thieves to find. Get a radio frequency shielding bag/pouch for the tracker you want to keep hidden so it’s more likely to stay hidden and lead the authorities to your car and the thieves.