Car theft: Insurance higher for ‘high theft’ cars

It's an epidemic across the country and it's costing insurance companies over a billion dollars a year, most of which, several hundred million, is right here in Ontario.

Vehicle theft continues to rise and some insurance companies are looking at more direct ways to recoup their losses.

According to the Equity Association, Honda CRVs top the list of most stolen vehicles in Ontario, followed by Lexus RX series, Dodge Rams, Toyota Highlanders and Land Rover Range Rovers. On an average, five vehicles are stolen every day in the country's capital.

An Ottawa resident was shocked when he received a letter from his insurance provider before his policy was up for renewal.

Austin Lonsdale said, “I said, OK, I don't really feel like paying an extra $400 a year or buying this tracker because of privacy concerns.”

His provider, Desjardins Insurance, said that because his vehicle was a 2021 Honda CRV, it was identified as high risk of theft and he would have to pay a $400 annual surcharge or install a tracking system called a tag.

“Well, it has privacy issues for me. I mean, I'm thinking about it and I mean, you know what? What would these people be doing? Who would be tracking the information or what would they be doing? Are we using it for that? So there are definitely privacy concerns there,” he said.

The letter said to call the insurance provider with the tracking system information.

In a statement to CTV News, Desjardins Insurance said in part, “TAG is a system to track and recover stolen vehicles and is not used to analyze driving habits and behaviors. Desjardins The insurance only receives information about the location of the vehicle after the theft was reported and when the police recovered the vehicle. Desjardins Insurance no longer offers to pay for tracking systems.”

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says claims related to auto theft in Ontario are expected to increase by 329 per cent between 2018 and 2022.

“That's a lot of money that insurers don't take into account in terms of calculating premiums because the cost of claims drives up premiums. So as the cost of claims goes up, insurers have to look at what they charge for premiums.” are, claims costs, etc. putting pressure on premiums,'' said Amanda Dean, vice-president of the Ontario and Atlantic region of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Lonsdale said he considered leasing the CRV again when he learned his vehicle was on the list most likely to be stolen.

“I'm really thinking about not getting another Honda CRV. It's too bad because this is my second and I was planning on a third, but now I'm starting to think about moving to another vehicle. I am on the list whose theft is not much.”

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