Store Locator

How to Protect your Vehicle and Outsmart Thieves and Carjackers

Wendy Walters July 08, 2022
Happy cheerful young woman driver in sunglasses opens her car with a remote key on the street in the city
In Canada, a car is stolen on average every six minutes. This staggering fact is underscored by the number of thefts that occur in Ontario alone. Ontario is one of the most active regions for vehicle theft. In recent months, we’ve also seen a disturbing rise in carjackings. According to Toronto Police Services, as of May 2022, vehicle thefts are up over 60% versus the same period last year. That means that while you are asleep in your bed, there is an increasing chance that your vehicle may be stolen from your driveway or garage. Thieves then load the vehicle onto a shipping container to be sold overseas, often by the time you’re making coffee the next morning. What’s even more concerning is the increasing risk of being carjacked. 

CAA wants everyone on the road to be safe, informed and protected wherever they go. Here are a few tips to keep you safe and enjoying those perfect summer drives.

First and foremost, keep yourself safe.

  • Park your car safely. Leave your vehicle in a well-lit, high traffic area. Be aware of your surroundings when returning to your car. If you have two cars in a single width driveway, park the less valuable one so that it blocks in the more valuable one. If you have a garage, park your vehicle inside and lock the doors. Installing a home security camera system that covers your parking space is also wise. 

  • Pay attention to your surroundings. When returning to your car, keep an eye open for anyone who may be waiting inside other vehicles or potentially following you. 

  • Make some noise. If you are heading towards your vehicle and feel like you’re being followed, activate your vehicle’s alarm with your key fob. If you are in your vehicle and you see a stranger approaching the vehicle, lock the doors and set the alarm with your key fob. Make some noise and attract as much attention as you can. 

  • Make your safety the priority, not the vehicle. In the unfortunate event that you are approached by people threatening your safety, comply with their demands and give up your vehicle. The car can be replaced. It is not worth risking your well-being to protect it.
Woman holding skateboard using remote control key to lock car

Protect your vehicle.

  • Use anti-theft devices. If your car has a wireless key fob, keep it away from your front door or use a Faraday box or pouch to block its signal, which prevents remote entry to the vehicle. 

  • Make sure you have an immobilizer. Most vehicles on the road today have what’s called an immobilizer. It’s an electronic security device that only starts the engine if the correct key is present. If your vehicle doesn’t have one, installing one will make it much harder to steal. This prevents thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot wiring a vehicle to start its engine. 

  • Install a tracker. Tracking devices send a signal to the police or a monitoring service in the event your vehicle is stolen. Although a GPS tracker may not deter theft, it can be used to locate and recover a vehicle. Most recently, thieves are using Apple AirTags to mark a vehicle and track its location. Apple users can use Find my App while Android users can use Tracker Detect to detect if an AirTag is present and report it to the local police department.

  • Lock your doors and windows. Never leave your vehicle running unattended and always lock the doors. Remember to close the windows and sunroof too. Don’t leave personal information or valuables in the vehicle. Keep your glove box locked with your ownership and contact your insurance company to obtain an electronic insurance slip along with a physical copy. Currently, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Ontario are all areas that accept the electronic insurance slip as legal proof. 

  • Disconnect your car keys from your house keys. If your car is stolen, make sure the security of your house doesn’t become part of the equation. Keep your house keys and car keys on a separate keychain.

What to do if your car is stolen.

Report the theft to the police immediately. You can do this by filing a police report online or by contacting your local police station. If your car or accessories are stolen, the police will need specific information to identify the car, parts and accessories. 

Young man using mobile phone at home

It’s wise to record key information you’ll need to identify your vehicle.

Keep a record of the following: 

  • Year and make, model, colour(s)
  • Licence plate number
  • Insurance policy number or certificate number
  • Location of the theft
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Serial numbers of all special equipment
  • Special markings such as dents, scratches, other damage etc. 
  • Contact information of any witnesses

We hope this reminds you to speak with your insurance agent or broker now to understand what type of coverage you have on your existing auto insurance policy. In the event your vehicle is stolen or an incident occurs, you’ll have some peace of mind that you’re covered.