“Automobile theft is much more than an insurance problem; it’s an expensive social menace. Every year, automobile theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion, including $542 million for insurers to fix or replace stolen cars, $250 million in police, health-care and court-system costs and millions more for correctional services.” – Insurance Bureau Of Canada
***Information is from Insurance Bureau of Canada***
Understanding Car Insurance Premiums
How often your make and model of car is stolen is one of the factors insurers use to set your insurance premium. The Insurance Bureau of Canada tracks insurance and claims trends across the country. Each year the IBC releases an annual list of the top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in Canada.
2014 List of Most Stolen Cars
Visit the IBC website to view region-specific top ten stolen cars in Ontario, Alberta, and Atlantic region.
Top Four Reasons Why Vehicles are Stolen
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, thieves generally steal cars for one of four reasons:
- To sell abroad: Stolen cars are often immediately packed – with their vehicle identification numbers still intact – and shipped abroad, where they are sold 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 still a crime, and innocent people do get hurt or killed as a result.
- To commit another crime: Stolen cars used to commit other crimes are often recovered – abandoned and badly damaged – within 48 hours of their theft.
Car Theft Prevention Tips
A professional thief can steal your car in about 30 seconds. But there are a few simple precautions that you can take to foil a criminal:
- Never leave your vehicle running unattended.
- Park in a well-lit areas.
- Always roll up your car windows, lock the doors and pocket and protect you keys.
- Never leave valuables or packages in full view. Put them in the trunk.
- Park your car in the garage at night.
What is Auto Insurance Fraud and How Does it Impact Me?
Everyone is affected by auto insurance fraud.
Recently, there has been an increase in fraudulent claims from staged collisions, which are car accidents deliberately set up to cash in on payouts from insurance claims. To make the collisions appear more authentic, fraudsters are also involving innocent drivers. Higher payouts lead to higher premiums for all policyholders, so everyone is affected by auto insurance fraud.
What Type of Auto Fraud is Happening?
- Target and bullet: staged collisions in which an unsuspecting car is hit intentionally.
- Swoop and squat: a driver slams on their brakes to get an innocent driver to rear-end the vehicle. In some cases, two vehicles are involved in the fraud, causing an innocent third party to rear-end the second vehicle.
- Drive down or Wave-in: a driver exiting a parking lot is “waved in” by a driver on the roadway. The roadway driver accelerates into the merging car once they enter the roadway, intentionally hitting the innocent driver and causing a collision where the innocent driver appears to be at fault
Here are a few examples of staged auto fraud provided by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
- A collision in which all vehicle occupants are aware of the scheme – if occupants were not in the vehicle at the time of impact, they are known as “jump-ins.”
- The vehicles reportedly involved never actually collided with each other – this is known as “paper-fraud.”
- Drivers and/or passengers of other involved vehicles are innocent and unaware – this is known as a caused collision.
Avoid Auto Fraud from Behind the Wheel
Protect yourself at the scene of an accident
If you are involved in a collision, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from fraud.
- Once you gather the other driver’s information, take pictures of the scene, including the damage to all vehicles involved.
- Count how many people are in the other vehicle(s). Take note of ages and genders, and even obtain names and contact information.
- Collect witness names and contact information.
- Call police to the scene, file a police report and keep a copy. Do not take further direction from anyone other than a police officer.
- Be wary if you are pressured or offered money by a tow truck operator to go to a particular body shop, paralegal or medical professional. Ask your insurance company for a list of preferred auto shops.
- Make sure all bills are detailed and accurate, medical treatments offered are necessary and always read forms thoroughly before signing them.
- If you have concerns about the circumstances surrounding the accident, contact your insurance company immediately.
Help stop insurance crime
Too often, insurance crimes are tolerated because they seem victimless, but it affects everyone who has insurance in the form of higher premiums. If you suspect an incident of fraud, submit a confidential report by calling 1-877-IBC-TIPS or visiting the Insurance Bureau of Canada online. Be sure to also visit their list of the latest fraud alerts.