Auto theft is an unfortunate fact of life on the road. Thousands of cars are stolen every year in Canada, resulting in millions of dollars in criminal profits. Many stolen cars are sold to so-called “chop shops,” where they are taken apart so the vehicle’s valuable parts can be sold separately, often to consumers and unsuspecting dealers. Other vehicles, particularly four-wheel drive vehicles like pickup trucks and SUVs, end up being clandestinely shipped overseas, where there is major black-market demand for them. Finally, many stolen vehicles are used in the commission of other crimes by criminals seeking to cover their tracks by using someone else’s car, or simply abandoned after a joyride.
Does Auto Theft Affect Calgary Car Insurance Rates?
You may be wondering if your car insurance in Calgary will go up if your vehicle is stolen. If you have comprehensive auto insurance and theft is covered by your policy, your rates will not be affected. Even if you don’t have any kind of anti-theft device installed on your vehicle, it is not your fault if your car is stolen and your insurance company will not penalize you for it.
However, vehicle theft does have an influence on Calgary car insurance rates. If you live in a neighbourhood that has been identified as “high risk” for auto theft, your insurance premiums will be higher than they would be if you lived in an area with lower vehicle theft rates. Also, you may be subject to a rate hike if you move from a lower-risk area to a higher-risk area.
Otherwise, your auto insurance rates will only go up if you do something to trigger an increase. Examples of such actions include:
- Being involved in an accident in which you are at fault
- Reducing your deductible, or switching to a more comprehensive Calgary auto insurance policy
- Purchasing a newer or more valuable vehicle than you are currently driving
- Committing multiple traffic offences
- Adding additional vehicles to your policy
- Changing the stated use of your vehicle, or exceeding your stated annual usage allowance
Preventing Auto Theft
Prevention is your best weapon against auto theft, and there are numerous strategies and products you can use to avoid the hassle and stress of having your car stolen. First, be sure to follow safe procedures whenever you park or leave your car:
- Always lock your car
- Never leave your keys in your car, or in the ignition
- Park your car in well-lit areas whenever possible, and avoid desolate, dark or potentially dangerous places
- Leave your car in your garage at night
- Do not leave valuables in your car, especially in plain sight
However, there are many people who have their cars stolen even though they follow these rules faultlessly. If you’re looking for an added line of defense, consider investing in one or more of the following anti-theft devices:
- Car alarms. Thieves rely on secrecy and cunning to steal a vehicle, and a car alarm makes it much more difficult for them to snatch your car undetected. Some alarms will activate if your car’s exterior is touched; others come on when someone tries to force entry.
- Vehicle immobilizers. Law enforcement officials consider vehicle immobilizers to be the single most effective anti-theft device. An immobilizer prevents a thief from escaping in your vehicle by shutting down the ignition, motor and fuel pump, making it impossible for an unauthorized individual to drive away in your car.
- Steering wheel locks. Devices that prevent criminals from taking your vehicle by locking your steering wheel in place are also very effective at deterring would-be thieves.
- Tracking systems. GPS-enabled tracking devices help the police to locate your vehicle if it is stolen.
Lane’s insurance brokers in Calgary may be able to offer you a reduction on your premiums if you use one or more of these devices.
What Should You Do If Your Car Is Stolen?
If you believe your vehicle has been stolen, here is what you should do:
- Make sure your car is actually gone. This is particularly important if you are in a large parking lot or underground garage and it’s possible that you just can’t remember where you parked, or perhaps you accidently parked in a tow-away zone.
- Call the police immediately if you’re sure your car has gone missing. Report its make, model, year of manufacture, and any other identifying details you can think of.
- Contact your insurance company to report the theft. Your insurance advisor will let you know what the next steps are, depending on whether or not the police are able to locate your vehicle.
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Calgary insurance brokerage, providing comprehensive and affordable protection to drivers across the province. If you have any questions about auto theft, or if you’d like a fast, free, no-obligation quote, please contact us to learn more.