Automobile theft is much more than an auto insurance problem; it is an expensive social menace. Each year, automobile theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion, including $542 million for insurers to fix or replace stolen vehicles, $250 million in police, health care and court system costs, and millions more for correctional services.
Why Does a Criminal Target a Vehicle?
How often a certain make and model of vehicle is stolen is one of the factors insurers use to set your insurance premium. Thieves generally steal vehicles for one of four reasons:
- To sell abroad: stolen vehicles are often immediately packed – with their vehicle identification numbers (VINs) still intact – and shipped abroad, where they are sold for many times their original market value.
- To sell to unsuspecting consumers: stolen vehicles may be given a false VIN and then sold to unsuspecting consumers. They can also be dismantled and sold for parts.
- To get somewhere: this may be referred to as “joyriding.” Auto theft of any kind is a crime and innocent people may get hurt or killed as a result.
- To commit another crime: stolen vehicles used to commit other crimes are often recovered – abandoned and badly damaged – within 48 hours of their theft.
Criminals will always look for opportunities to take advantage. The pandemic has brought about unusual circumstances and new behaviors. Vehicles are home and are a predicably parked target. Protect your car and valuables by following these tips:
Keep your Vehicle Secure
- Do not leave your vehicle running while unattended.
- Do not leave your keys in the ignition or your key fob behind when parked.
- Do not leave spare keys in the glovebox or any other compartment. It might be convenient, but it is not worth the inconvenience of having your vehicle stolen.
- Put on a steering wheel lock. Time is a factor for thieves; if it is going to take them a little longer to steal your vehicle, they may be deterred.
- Roll up the windows and make sure all doors are locked.
- Arm your vehicle with a security system or buy a vehicle with a security system.
- Make it harder for thieves to tow away your vehicle by using your emergency brake and turning your wheels towards the curb.
- Install outdoor security cameras if you park outside.
- Install an ignition kill switch if your vehicle does not have a mandatory immobilizer
- Keep your valuables in a safe place.
Do not give thieves a reason to break into your vehicle by leaving valuables or spare change in your cup holder. If you must leave valuables in your vehicle, put them in the trunk or glove compartment. Also leaving identification papers, sensitive documents, and banking information inside the car is not recommended. Those are valuables you should bring with you all the time. After you shop, make sure to get all the goods inside the house. Letting them stay in your car overnight is like inviting thieves to come and take them.
Choose the right spot to park
Thieves like hiding in the dark, especially in indoor parking garages. Because of big SUVs and pillars, they have an easier time concealing themselves. A dim environment will also make it difficult for any CCTV system, security guards, or car owners to spot and identify them. The best way to protect your car from these threats is to avoid parking in such areas. Make sure to choose high-traffic and well-light secured areas for your parking.
Get Auto Insurace
Keeping these tips in mind may not entirely stop a thief, but they can help increase your protection and lessen your chances of falling victim to theft or break-ins. Having an auto insurance policy will also help you cover unexpected situations like theft and damage to your vehicle.
Do all you can to make sure your car is always protected. Auto insurance at MacDonald Gill Insurance Services provides you with the basic protection you need, including third-party liability and accident benefits. You can make it more comprehensive with coverage for fire, theft, vandalism, and more.
Whether you are in our local neighborhood of Westwood Plateau, Coquitlam, in the nearby communities of Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, anywhere in BC actually, give us a call for a quote today.