Ontario drivers at risk of auto theft as preventive measures lag

Survey shows how auto thefts are influencing consumer behaviour

Ontario drivers at risk of auto theft as preventive measures lag

Insurance News

By Mika Pangilinan

A third of Ontario drivers know someone whose car has been stolen, while fewer than a fifth have taken preventive measures to protect their vehicle from theft, according to a recent survey by LowerRates.ca. 

 The survey conducted by the rate comparison website also found that 40% of drivers are unsure if thieves commonly target their vehicles.

 “There have been several media stories aimed at educating and alerting the public about rising auto thefts,” Stéphane McGee, head of product and pricing at Onlia, told LowerRates.ca. “However, not everyone is aware of it. Until someone is impacted personally, it can be off their radar.”

 In June, Équité Association reported that auto thefts in Ontario increased by more than 48% in 2022. Additionally, the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association (CFLA) revealed that 9,606 of the thefts reported in the province last year occurred in Toronto alone

 To understand how these thefts influence the choices made by vehicle owners, LowerRates.ca said it polled over 400 Ontario drivers who used its auto insurance quoter. 

 Key findings from this survey include:

  1.  Personal Connections to Auto Theft - 34% of respondents claimed to know someone who has fallen victim to auto theft. Additionally, 3% of respondents reported having had their vehicle stolen, while 2% said they had both personal and second-hand experiences of vehicle theft.
  2. Usage of Anti-Theft Devices - Only 14.5% of respondents reported using anti-theft devices, such as GPS trackers, faraday pouches, or steering wheel locks.
  3.  Lack of Awareness - 40% of respondents admitted not knowing whether their vehicles were commonly targeted by thieves.
  4. Risk Assessment - Only 12.5% of survey participants were aware that they were driving vehicles at high risk of theft. In contrast, 41% believed their vehicles were not at increased theft risk.
  5. Insurance Adjustments - Amidst the surge in auto thefts, 6.7% of respondents increased their auto insurance coverage to protect their vehicles better. Additionally, 2% chose to lower their deductibles, and 4% took out specific endorsements to enhance their insurance coverage.
  6. Response to Insurer Surcharge - Of those who received surcharges from their insurers for owning high-risk vehicles, 2% paid the charge, while another 2% installed anti-theft devices recommended by their insurers to avoid the extra cost.

LowerRates.ca released its survey of Ontario drivers after the provincial government promised to crack down on the auto theft crisis. 

In its fall economic statement, the government pledged a $1.4 million investment in the Greater Toronto Area-Greater Golden Horseshoe Investigative Fund to provide police services with the resources and technology they need to tackle auto theft.

 What are your thoughts on this story? Feel free to comment below. 

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