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Drive one of these vehicles? You may pay 37 per cent more than average insurance costs due to thefts

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Canada's auto theft crisis is affecting millions of Canadians — even those whose cars aren't stolen.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), insurance companies in 2023 were on the hook for more than $1.5 billion in claims to replace stolen vehicles, marking the second consecutive year auto theft claims crossed the $1-billion mark. The 2023 number is a 254 per cent increase from the nearly $440 million claimed in 2018.

To make up for the losses, insurance companies are increasing the price on premiums for clients, particularly those who drive the most commonly stolen vehicles.

Daniel Ivans is an insurance expert for RATESDOTCA. In a statement to CTVNews.ca, he says the move by insurers is a predictable outcome that falls on the shoulders of drivers.

"High rates of auto theft are continuing to push premium prices higher as insurers try to balance out unprecedented claims costs," Ivans said. "For drivers of commonly stolen vehicles, it's even more important to shop around for auto insurance, as prices could vary widely from insurer-to-insurer, depending on claims costs and how they are calculating risk."

Which vehicles?

Drivers behind the wheel of a Honda Accord, CR-V or Civic, a Ford F-150, the Toyota Highlander or RAV4 face a 37 per cent increase above the average comprehensive premium cost, according to data from RATESDOTCA.

In separate funding announcements last February, the federal government said it would put nearly $43 million toward combating the rise of auto thefts. Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc said that helping local police plays a "crucial role" in combatting auto theft.

Liam McGuinty, IBC vice-president of strategy, says these numbers indicate the crisis is taking a toll on the well-being of citizens and placing a heavy burden on law enforcement.

"Canada's auto theft crisis is placing pressure on drivers' insurance premiums," McGuinty said in a news release. "As auto theft continues to increase, so do the associated costs. Auto theft is not a victimless crime."

Where are the thefts?

The majority of auto thefts occur in Ontario. In 2022 alone, the province accounted for nearly $700 million of the $1 billion in theft claims, up nearly 300 per cent from 2018, according to the IBC. The following year, Ontario became the first province to reach the $1-billion mark in auto theft claims costs.

In May 2023, the Ontario government announced it would provide $51 million to help police dismantle what it described as "organized crime networks" that orchestrate the thefts.

Across Ontario, there was a 72 per cent increase in auto theft from 2014 to 2021 and a 14 per cent increase in 2022, according to the province.

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