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Almost one third of Canadian drivers are worried about auto theft, while 5% are very worried: Survey

May 1, 2023
6 mins
thief opening car door

As technology and organized crime rings evolve faster than the average car owner can track, auto theft in Canada continues to rise at an alarming rate. Theft rates in individual cities are well into the double digits on a weekly basis, and increasing. From January to April 2023, the number of vehicles reported stolen is up 26.5% from the same time last year.

Fortunately, local law enforcement is catching up with the crime. The Toronto Police Service has recovered $27 million in stolen vehicles combined, and charged more than 100 people for the thefts, most of whom are from Ontario. But, the supply of stolen vehicles is also causing violence between organized crime groups nationally, highlighting the severity and scale of the network.

According to a recent Leger survey conducted on behalf of RATESDOTCA and BNN Bloomberg, 27% of Canadians who own a car are worried about it being stolen, while 5% are very worried. With theft now a daily occurrence, it’s essential for all Canadian drivers to review their insurance coverage and the precautions they’re taking to ward off thieves.

27% of Canadians with a car are worried about auto theft, 5% very worried

Nearly one third of Canadians are concerned about auto theft. In addition to the headache, expense, and inconvenience of being without a vehicle, having your car stolen is also a factor that affects your car insurance premium. In fact, merely owning a vehicle with a high likelihood of being stolen can increase your rate, according to the Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) system that insurance providers use to assess risk.

While those with vehicles on Équité Association’s 10 most stolen vehicles in Canada list are the bigger target for thieves, current theft rates seem to leave no vehicle model off limits. But some drivers are more worried than others.

Of the 27% of respondents who are worried about theft:

  • 30% make less than $60K per year
  • 28% of those who make between $60K and $99.9K and
  • 24% of those who make $100K or more.

The group who makes $60K per year or less showed the highest level of concern among the respondents. One simple reason for this could be the high cost of replacing their vehicle given today’s new and used vehicle prices. For those in this income bracket unwilling to add extra coverage to their policy, there is always an opportunity to save.

Comparing car insurance rates can help anyone find the lowest possible rate for the insurance they require and ensure they’re safe on the road while protecting their asset.

85% of Canadians take precautions to prevent a stolen vehicle

The majority of Canadians make a conscious effort to safeguard their vehicle. Of the 85% that do, 30% use some sort of security technology, like a GPS tracker, alarm system, or cameras outside of their home. Of this group, 47% live in the suburbs, 38% live in an urban area, and 14% in a rural area.

Some anti-theft devices can actually help lower your car insurance premium in certain instances, even if you drive a more expensive vehicle. After all, there are several factors that influence the rate you pay, which are all weighed at once.

A small portion, 3%, still hide their vehicle identification number (VIN), though doing so isn’t as much of a deterrent as it used to be, as a VIN can easily be accessed with just a licence plate number through an app. Thieves can then cut a replica key and enter the vehicle.

However, some insurance providers are intervening. For example, Aviva recently created an incentive for insured customers to install Tag anti-theft technology at no cost. This way, stolen vehicles can be traced regardless of whether its cellular antenna is intact.

If you’re unsure of which proactive measure to take, it’s best to speak with an insurance broker about how you can lower your rate through theft prevention.

Only 13% of Canadians with a car don't take any precautions at all

Of the 13% that don’t do anything to prevent their vehicle from getting stolen, 91% aren’t worried about theft.

That means no effort is taken to protect their vehicle, from parking in a well-lit, secure location, to storing keys in a faraday box or radio frequency identification (RFID) blocking device.

Individuals in this group would highly benefit from comprehensive car insurance in the event their vehicle is stolen. Otherwise, they’ll have no pay out when it comes to funding a new vehicle.

As vehicle theft persists, it’s worth considering preventative actions you can take to protect your vehicle. A broker can help find you the right coverage for your specific vehicle’s make, model, and year, at the best rate.


An online survey of 1,515 Canadians aged 18+ was completed between April 21 and 23, 2023, using Leger’s online panel. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e., a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, however, a probability sample of 1,515 respondents would have a margin of error of ± 2.5 %, 19 times out of 20.

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Michelle Bates

Editor and Writer

Michelle Bates is an editor and writer in the personal finance space. She has seven years of content writing experience.

She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Queen's University in English Literature and Sociology along with a Publishing - Book, Magazine and Electronic graduate certificate from Centennial College. Michelle specializes in personal finance content, including mortgages, home, auto, and travel insurance, and credit cards. Her work has been covered by notable Canadian news sources like the Financial Post, the Globe and Mail, CTV News, and Narcity.

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