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Insurance is high on frequently stolen vehicles. Here's how to reduce your premiums


Looking for a break on car insurance premiums is often top of mind for drivers.

And finding ways to reduce that figure is especially important now, when rampant thefts have led to higher insurance costs.

Experts say installing a tracking device and parking in a garage are among the actions that could help lower insurance costs.

Generally, a whole host of factors determine insurance premiums -- driving history, type of vehicle and location, among others, said Matt Hands, vice-president of insurance at rate comparison website But as car thefts rise, he added, some car owners are likely to see an insurance surcharge.

"When you see the price as a consumer, you might go: 'Oh, wow, that's quite expensive,"' he said. "A good broker is going to walk you through why it's the price and is largely out of their control."

The sticker shock on insurance is more likely to happen for vehicles more susceptible to theft as insurance agencies pay more on claims. Honda CR-Vs, the latest Dodge RAM 1500 series and Ford F150s were the top three most stolen vehicles in 2022, according to insurance fraud prevention group Equite Association.

In some cases, companies refuse to insure those particular vehicles. Others do charge higher premiums, but there are still ways to lower that amount a little.

Car owners might consider installing an aftermarket tracking device known as a tag system.

A tag can assist with the recovery of the vehicle, and also lowers the risk of the car being stolen, says Liam McGuinty, vice-president of strategy at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

"It lowers the risk of a claim since (the car) could be recovered," said McGuinty. "Also, some aftermarket tracking devices come with a decal on the car so they could act as a deterrent effect."

A tracking device can cost about $400, Hands said -- an additional cost car owners are expected to bear themselves. But some insurance companies are willing to offer discounts or reimburse partial costs of the device to encourage faster adoption, he added.

Hands estimated discounts could range from 10 per cent to 30 per cent.

Some insurers may also lower your premium when a tag system is installed. Others charge extra for owners without the device. Hands said the surcharge could be as much as $500 a year.

But with the most frequently stolen vehicles, even a tag may not necessarily reduce insurance premiums, experts warn.

Every insurance company works differently, said McGuinty.

"There's no set standard response from the insurance industry in terms of, if you install an aftermarket tracking device, you will receive X premium discount," he said.

"That's just not how it's operating."

It could, however, deter potential thieves -- which can affect insurance premiums in the future since drivers who have had a vehicle stolen in the past may pay more over time.

Hands explained that taking preventive measures, even if an insurance company isn't offering discounts or reimbursements, still benefits car owners.

"The longer you can stay claims-free with your record, the better your insurance pricing should be," Hands said.

Shopping around for better deals on insurance is also a crucial cost-saving step.

Steve Henderson, a managing partner at Youngs Insurance Brokers Inc., says he has been noticing some insurance companies taking a step back by refusing to insure cars high up on the list of most stolen vehicles.

When working with a client, he said he tries his best to get suitable deals and share any piece of advice coming down the chain from insurance companies.

"We check our array of companies, we find out who's the best," Henderson said. "We try and use our companies to the advantage of the consumers."

Some tips to deter car thefts, and likely offer relief on insurance premiums, include parking inside the garage, locking the steering wheel with a device when parked outdoors; and storing car keys in a Faraday pouch, an aluminum-lined bag that blocks fob signals.

Hands said people thinking of buying a new vehicle should look at the most-stolen vehicle models and check if their potential purchase is a part of the list.

"If you're looking for a vehicle as utility, picking a vehicle that's not on this list might be something you might want to do, because it'll help you save money in the long run," Hands said.

Overall, it is harder to drastically lower premiums, mainly because the industry is regulated and any insurer looking to increase or decrease rates needs to be approved by the rate regulator, said McGuinty.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2024. Top Stories

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