Stop… Thief!

You are shopping at a mall, and make your way back to the parking lot… but your car is no longer there. Your car is very plain with no fancy gadgets, so you would never have thought it would be stolen. Unfortunately, regardless of year or model, any vehicle can be stolen.

Motor vehicle theft is a major problem in Quebec. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in 2009 no less than 27,517 vehicles were stolen in that province… that’s one vehicle every 19 minutes! Vehicle theft is also a big problem in Ontario, where 27,175 vehicles were stolen during the same year. However, regarding the recovery rate of stolen vehicles, the difference is staggering: 67% for Metropolitan Toronto versus 31% for the Greater Montreal Area.

Some people would actually be happy to see their vehicle gone, such as in the case of a leased car with excess kilometers, a vehicle whose maintenance costs are increasingly higher or a vehicle covered by a replacement cost insurance policy. In some of these cases, the insured person could sigh with relief upon finding out that his vehicle has been stolen. However, this joy could be short-lived.

The insured person would quickly come to realize that most of his property left inside the vehicle is not covered by his insurance policy, but rather by his homeowner’s policy. As well, goods left in the car are often worth less than the homeowner’s policy deductible (on average $500). What’s more, if, in spite of all this, the insured chooses to file a claim, he will find that his premium has increased when renewing his policy.

Suddenly having his vehicle stolen is not such a happy event. And that’s not factoring in the trouble of having to rent a vehicle while the claim is being processed, to have to haggle on the price of another car with a dealer, to obtain new financing… don’t get me started! Luckily, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of having your vehicle stolen.

Don’t be conspicuous:

Don’t leave valuable objects in your vehicle, or hide what you do leave: put your portable computer in the trunk, remove the GPS and especially the lead wires, and don’t leave any change or your cell phone lying around in the vehicle.

Have your vehicle engraved:

Having various parts of your vehicle engraved is an excellent way of discouraging would-be thieves. By putting a visible code on approximately 50 parts of the vehicle, you are going a long way toward avoiding having your vehicle stolen and separated into parts that will be sold on the black market. Engraving is very affordable, and you can even have specialists do it at your home.

Install a tracking system:

Although many drivers are not a fan of satellite-positioning systems, especially given the recurrent costs, they are nevertheless an excellent means of preventing vehicle theft. The advantage is three-fold: 1- They make theft more difficult; 2- They allow to track the vehicle; and 3- They also prevent vehicles from being taken on “joy rides” by people who steal vehicles simply to go from point A to point B.

So, have you looked outside the window to check whether your vehicle is still in your driveway? Now you know what to do for your own peace of mind.

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