The insurance industry lost one billion dollars to auto theft last year, with $700 million in losses in Ontario alone.
With no signs of theft slowing down, some insurance companies are adding surcharges if you drive a vehicle at risk of being stolen.
According to RatesDotca, some insurance companies are raising premiums if your vehicle is considered a higher risk of being taken by thieves, partly due to covering massive insurance losses.
“In some cases, we are seeing as much as $500 if your vehicle is on their list of being most stolen,” said Daniel Ivans, an insurance expert with RatesDotca.
“I’m angry, I’m frustrated, and these car thieves seem fearless when they are taking your vehicle,” said Sunil Patel of Scarborough, who had his Lexus SUV stolen from his driveway earlier this month.
Patel had a video security system with an audio feature that alerted the thieves they were being recorded and to leave his home. Still, it didn’t seem to phase them as they stole his car, even though Patel said they had to cut through his steering wheel to remove a steering wheel lock.
Patel said his stolen vehicle has still not been replaced, and he has been told his insurance premiums will be going up $2,300 a year when he gets a new car.
“We have a family, and we need a car. There is a vehicle shortage, prices are high, and interest rates are high, so everything right now is a mess,” said Patel.
According to RatesDotca, in some cases, a 35-year-old male driver in Toronto with no prior convictions driving a Honda CR-V 2020 has seen a 26 per cent increase in their comprehensive insurance over last year.
Some insurance companies are providing rebates or offering to install tracking systems in vehicles at high risk of theft.
CTV News Toronto interviewed Arwinder Kalsi of Mississauga last month when he got a letter saying he must have a tracking device installed or his premiums would increase.
“It’s like if you don’t do this, we will increase your premium,” said Kalsi.
Now more than ever, when buying a vehicle, you should check how much your insurance will be beforehand and consider cars that may be cheaper to insure.
“Speak to an insurance broker or agent before you sign those papers because you have to factor in the cost of insurance into the whole cost of vehicle ownership,” said Anne Marie Thomas with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
It may be a good time to shop around if you get hit with a surcharge on your premiums.
“As a consumer, if you get a renewal in the mail and you get a $500 surcharge or any type of surcharge because you have a high-risk vehicle, it’s definitely a good time to check your options. Because there will be other options out there for you with other companies not surcharging as heavily,” Ivans said.