There were a record number of automobile thefts in Canada last year causing a record number of payouts by insurance companies.
There were $1 billion — that is ‘b’ as in billion — worth of automobile theft claims with the largest amount of that total (more than $700 million) occurring in Ontario, RatesDotCa says.
In the provincial capital, there were 9,606 vehicles stolen last year, which is triple the number that went missing in 2015, according to stats from Toronto police.
“Organized rings are specifically targeting around 10 types of cars,” said Mary Kelly, a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, in an interview with Global News.
In 2021, the most likely vehicle to be stolen in Ontario was the Lexus RX Series, as Équité says 22,192 went missing that year.
The Honda CR-V came in second spot on the top 10 list followed by the Ford F150 Series, Toyota Highlander and the Honda Civic.
“There’s always been cars that have been more likely to be stolen. But I think you’ve probably seen the stats on just the overwhelming increase in auto thefts in Canada, like double-digit percent increases,” Kelly said.
She noted that insurance companies could choose a number of options to decrease their liability, especially for those who own vehicles most likely to be stolen.
Those options include not offering theft insurance (as they are not required to do so) or raising premiums.
RatesDotCa noted that premiums on some of the vehicles most likely to be stolen jumped between 25 per cent and 50 per cent over the past two years.
“Or they’re going to ask you to undertake actions that will reduce the likelihood of theft,” Kelly explained.
In addition, a number of insurance companies in Ontario are asking people who drive vehicles that are popular with thieves an option to pay $500 or take on some type of anti-theft measure, according to Mitch Insurance Brokers.
The brokerage said the insurance companies have taken different approaches to the issue, such as requiring customers to install tags or other anti-theft devices or technology.
Some of the insurers will pay for the installations or offer it to be done at a reduced price but all will reduce premiums once the technology is installed.
“The list of commonly stolen vehicles may vary slightly from insurer to insurer, so if your vehicle is on one insurer’s list, it might not be on another, and you could potentially save money by changing providers,” RatesDotCa broker Daniel Ivans stated. “It’s always a good idea to check in with a broker to see what options they have available.”