The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) published its annual list of most stolen vehicles in Canada for 2020, and this year’s list is dominated by SUVs – particularly technologically advanced vehicles with keyless entry remotes.

That potentially means if you drive a vehicle with a keyless fob, you could end up paying more for car insurance since it is a common target for theft. Many high-end SUVs are stolen for export to other countries, IBC says.

Last July, Toronto Police alerted the public to a growing trend that saw high-tech thieves capture key fob signals through the door of a house with the use of wireless transmitters. The transmitters broadcast the key fob’s signal to unlock a vehicle, the criminal then starts the engine (if it has a keyless or push-button ignition system), and cruises away undetected.

Statistics from the Toronto Police shows the number of high-tech vehicle thefts in Toronto has been on the climb since 2016, reaching 5,186 vehicles stolen in 2019.

IBC’s top 10 list of vehicles auto thieves covet the most are:

  1. 2018 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD
  2. 2017 Lexus RX350/RX450h AWD
  3. 2017 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD
  4. 2018 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450h/RX450hL 4DR AWD
  5. 2018 Ford F-150 4WD
  6. 2019 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD
  7. 2018 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD
  8. 2017 Toyota Highlander 4DR AWD
  9. 2019 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450h/RX450hL 4DR AWD
  10. 2017 Dodge/RAM RAM 1500 4WD

In 2019, the Ford F350 series dominated IBC’s list, and though only two pickup truck models appear on the 2020 list, pickups remain a popular target for thieves.

“Thieves have many motives. This year’s top 10 list confirms some key trends in auto theft that we are now seeing. Regardless of how a vehicle is stolen, auto theft is a serious threat to public safety and continues to cost all Canadians,” says Bryan Gast, National Director, Investigative Services, IBC, in a statement.

IBC also warns there’s a growing trend, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, in dangerous activities such as street racing and illegal gatherings for drifting events, providing a market for stolen small, speedy vehicles.

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The vehicles car thieves target varies regionally

IBC also noticed a regional trend showing which vehicles thieves are more likely to target.

For example, in Ontario, Lexus and Honda vehicles top the list. Some of these vehicles were stolen for export by organized crime groups, while others have been identified in street racing rings.

The 10 most stolen vehicles in Ontario in 2020

  1. 2017 Lexus RX350/RX450h 4DR AWD
  2. 2018 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450h/RX450hL 4DR AWD
  3. 2018 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD
  4. 2018 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD
  5. 2019 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450h/RX450hL 4DR AWD
  6. 2016 Lexus RX350/RX450h 4DR AWD
  7. 2017 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD
  8. 2017 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD
  9. 2019 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD
  10. 2018 Honda Accord 4DR

In Alberta, pickup trucks are the most sought after by crooks, with the Ford F-Series and Dodge Ram trucks being the most popular. These trucks are attractive to thieves, IBC says, and oil and gas companies have use them almost exclusively, which has brought a disproportionately high amount of them to the province. In addition, the 2007 and earlier models are easier to steal because many do not have theft-deterrent devices installed.

The 10 most stolen vehicles in Alberta in 2020

  1. 2006 Ford F350 SD 4WD
  2. 2007 Ford F350 SD 4WD
  3. 2004 Ford F350 SD 4WD
  4. 2005 Ford F350 SD 4WD
  5. 2017 Dodge/RAM RAM 1500 4WD
  6. 2014 Dodge RAM 1500 4WD
  7. 2003 Ford F350 SD 4WD
  8. 2018 Ford F150 4WD
  9. 2013 Ford F150 4WD
  10. 2013 Dodge RAM 1500 4WD

How to protect your vehicle from theft

Auto theft costs Canadians nearly $1 billion annually. Moreover, a vehicle in Canada is stolen every six minutes, according to IBC.

Consider these tips to reduce the chance of your wheels being snatched:

  • Don’t leave your keyless entry fob in your vehicle or near the front entrance to your house unprotected. Get a protective box or bag that is designed to block the key fob’s signal.
  • Install an electronic vehicle immobilizer to prevent thieves from hot-wiring your car, truck, or SUV.
  • Install a tracking device that emits a signal police can track if your vehicle is taken.
  • Don’t be an easy target for auto theft by parking your vehicle in a well-lit area or in a garage and ensure all the windows are closed and the doors locked.
  • Don’t leave personal information in the glove box such as your insurance pink card and ownership documents, have a visible or audible device that tells thieves your vehicle is protected, and never leave your vehicle running when unattended.
  • Get a steering wheel or brake pedal lock.

Protect your vehicle and your wallet

If you are concerned about the cost of your car insurance premium – whether it’s for your existing vehicle of if you’re looking to buy a new vehicle – take a few minutes to compare policies and premiums from a broad range of insurers.

RATESDOTCA Team

The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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