More than 200 cars are stolen daily across Canada. Around 86,132 vehicles were reported in 2022 alone, according to Statistics Canada. In Toronto (country's largest city) alone, more than 8,000 vehicles were reported stolen in 2022. That number was up from about 5,600 stolen vehicles in 2021. Criminals target vehicles for many reasons, including: To sell to unsuspecting customers.
Having your vehicle stolen is bad enough, but carjacking—having it taken while you're behind the wheel is potentially dangerous for the driver and deeply disconcerting. Most of the time, getting carjacked means relinquishing your vehicle and, unfortunately, though it may be, attempting to retrieve the vehicle is not recommended. .
There are a number of things that make your vehicle attractive to thieves - including make, model and the value of certain parts. Know that it's not always the most valuable, the flashiest or the most expensive car makes and models that are most desirable. So whatever your car, don't make it convenient for would-be criminals.
Auto theft is covered under the comprehensive portion of a vehicle insurance policy. However, as always, it's better to prevent a loss than to deal with the fallout of having your vehicle stolen. There are certain steps that you can take to prevent the possibility of your vehicle being carjacked and to make sure you don't become a victim. Take these precautionary measures and check with your insurer; some may even help lower your premium:
1. Park in a well-lit area.
2. Install an alarm or immobilizer system in your vehicle.
3. Make sure you always lock the doors.
4. Don't leave valuable items in plain sight.
5. Park in a secure garage or driveway.
6. Take your key with you – even if you're just running a quick errand.
7. Consider a wheel lock and have it professionally installed.
8. Use window etchings or vehicle identification number (VIN) labels.
9. Install a tracking device in your vehicle.
10. Be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to the police
Carjacking is a very serious crime
And, though armed auto theft represents a small percentage of the incidents, carjacking is a violent crime that can add a dire emotional toll and even bodily harm to financial loss. Carjacking is a very serious crime and can involve physical violence, threats and the use of weapons. In addition to the direct financial losses and potential physical harm, carjacking can also add an emotional toll on victims, who can experience fear, trauma, and anxiety from having their vehicle taken by force. Victims may also feel a sense of vulnerability, loss of control, and helplessness when confronted with such a violent crime.
Avoid being a carjacking target with these additional precautions:
1. Park in well-lit areas and be aware of your surroundings when leaving your vehicle.
2. Carry your keys with you, not in your purse or pocket, so that you can get into your car quickly.
3. Lock your doors and windows as soon as you are inside the car.
4. Don't stop to offer assistance to other drivers or hitchhikers.
5. If someone appears suspicious or if you think you might be followed, drive to a police station, public place, or busy area.
6. If confronted with a carjacker, remain calm and comply with their demands.
7. Avoid joining in online conversations about locations and times for carpooling or road trips with strangers.
8. Don't leave valuables floating around in the car. Put them in the trunk before you park.
9. Have a plan in place for avoiding potential carjacking locations, such as unfamiliar and secluded areas.
10. Whenever possible, take public transportation instead of driving at night.
If the worst happens and your car is stolen, you’ll want to file a police report. Then check that your policy covers car theft and get the claims process started. Notify your insurance professional about the incident as soon as possible and follow their process for filing a claim. You should also call your lending company or bank and ask them to begin their process for a car theft loan claim. Finally, make sure to document the incident and save any supporting material to use as evidence for your claim.