In 2017, Ontario experienced a 15% increase in vehicle theft – much of it during the busy holiday season. Use these guidelines to help protect yourself from vehicle theft.
'Tis the Season - For Vehicle Theft?
As a new year dawns, reveler's tired from late-night parties may sleep through several of their morning alarms. Unfortunately, New Year’s Day is the most common day for vehicle thieves to strike.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that many of Canada’s provinces saw an increased number of vehicle thefts in 2017. Ontario saw the second-biggest increase in vehicle theft in the country, with a 15% increase that year.
These vehicles are stolen for many reasons. Thieves are often able to dissemble the car for parts, resell to unsuspecting buyers, or take it for illegal and dangerous criminal activities. Gifts left unconcealed in vehicles are an easy target. The Lock It OR Lose It campaign runs annually with the London Police Service to raise awareness of this risk.
With prevention and preparation, you can be better equipped to keep your vehicle safe from theft during this holiday season.
A Preventative Checklist
Reduce the risks associated with car theft this holiday season with our quick checklist of preventative steps to follow.
Make your vehicle less attractive to thieves
Conceal valuables and packages out of sight and remove them from the car during your extended absence. Electronics, like GPS or portable DVD player units, should be stored in a glove box or other concealed compartments. Always close the windows and lock the car doors when parked and away from your car.
Consider where you park your car. If you park in an outdoor lot, rotate your parking spots each day. Storing your car in a garage at night can help to deter thieves. Well-lit parking areas are also a plus.
Be extra vigilant
It is important to remove your insurance and ownership documents from the vehicle when you leave it parked. These documents have your personal information on them, and can be used for identity and insurance fraud if they are stolen. Additionally, never start your vehicle and leave it unattended to warm up. A car with it's keys in it makes an easy target for thieves!
Steps to Take in an Emergency
Acting quickly is critical in a worst-case scenario. If your car is stolen, report the theft to the police right away and connect with your insurance broker.
Your stolen vehicle could be used in other criminal acts, as car thefts are often the work or organized crime. The thief could also commit fraud with your vehicle and personal information you may have left in the car. Reporting the vehicle as stolen right away minimizes these risks. Be sure to take the following steps for your security.
Share your vehicle information with police
Start by calling police and providing your vehicle’s VIN number. Police will use the VIN to help identify your vehicle and limit your exposure to fraud and crime.
Connect with your insurance broker
Follow up with a call to your insurance broker to understand your options. Your insurance broker will help you to file a claim with your insurance company and set you up with an adjuster. The adjuster will be your contact with the insurance company as they investigate your report.
Reduce your risk of vehicle theft this holiday season. Take preventative action and be prepared in case of an emergency.
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