Two cars parked in front of a house.

May 14, 2024

How multiple car theft attempts can impact your auto insurance

5 min read


The auto theft crisis continues to escalate, and a car is now stolen every five minutes in Canada. The federal government estimates that 90,000 vehicles are being stolen annually. This cost $1.2 billion in insurance claims in 2022 alone – three times the amount that was paid in 2018.

With theft numbers rising, an increasing number of Canadians are having their vehicles stolen multiple times. While there are national and provincial lists highlighting the most stolen automobiles, the reality is that any car can be targeted and stolen. Even if a vehicle is recovered, often drivers find themselves still having to make a claim for the damages.

Unfortunately for those who have had their cars stolen numerous times, the more auto insurance claims you make, the more your coverage and future premiums may be impacted.

Multiple auto theft claims and comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive auto insurance provides protection if your car gets stolen or if it’s damaged during a theft attempt. It provides coverage for any damage to your vehicle that isn’t caused by a collision and in addition to theft, includes vandalism, fire, severe weather, natural disasters and falling objects.

Although comprehensive insurance is optional, if you’re leasing or financing a vehicle, you’ll likely need it as part of your agreement. This contractual requirement is causing problems for drivers who have had to submit several comprehensive claims because their vehicle has been stolen multiple times or damaged during repeated theft attempts.

“Most insurance companies will no longer offer comprehensive coverage if you’ve had multiple claims within a set number of years,” said Mitch Insurance CEO, Adam Mitchell. “The amount of claims and time period varies by insurer, but every company has a specific threshold as part of their coverage rules.”

If you reach the limit for comprehensive claims – for example, some carriers will only allow three comprehensive claims in three years – your insurance company will no longer make this coverage available to you. If comprehensive insurance is a necessity because of your leasing or financing agreement, you’ll need to find it elsewhere, most likely from a high-risk insurer.

“If you have to go this route, the cost for the coverage will be significantly more expensive,” said Mitchell. “It could be two or three times as much as you’re currently paying for your insurance.”

It’s important to note that because auto insurance is a regulated product, all coverage rules must be approved by the provincial regulator, which in Ontario is the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA). Insurance companies’ rules regarding comprehensive coverage apply to all drivers – not just victims of car theft. Anyone who surpasses an insurer’s threshold for comprehensive claims within a specified timeframe would be in a similar situation.

What to do

Through no fault of their own, a growing number of Canadians are finding themselves in the scenario above because of Canada’s auto theft issue.

A driver’s car gets stolen, so they file a claim. They replace their vehicle and then a few months later it gets stolen again. It’s recovered a second time, but now the person must file another comprehensive claim because the thieves broke their window and damaged the dashboard and interior.

If any additional comprehensive claims are submitted, they may be forced to either go without comprehensive coverage or having to find it through a high-risk (and more expensive) insurer. Here are some recommendations to help you avoid this from happening.

Car theft prevention steps.
Fig. 1. 3 steps you can take to prevent car theft.

Purchasing a new vehicle? Do your research

When buying a new vehicle, it’s definitely worthwhile to spend some time researching which vehicles are more and less popular with thieves.

“Everyone’s seen the most stolen vehicles list, start investigating the least stolen list,” said Mitchell. “Look into which cars are less desirable to thieves. This can help reduce your risk and may even save you on your insurance premiums too.”

It’s also beneficial to reach out to an insurance broker and ask them about any cars you’re considering. They can provide insurance quotes for the different models to give a clearer understanding of what the full vehicle cost will be. They can also let you know if of the cars are on any insurers’ high-theft lists, and if you’ll be subject to a surcharge or be required to install a tracking or disabling device on your vehicle because of this.

Take care of small repairs yourself

If you experience minor damages to your vehicle due to a theft attempt, it might be better to pay for the repairs yourself instead of filing a claim.

“You may want to think twice about putting that claim on your insurance record, especially if you’ve already had a comprehensive claim or two,” said Mitchell. “If you need comprehensive coverage for your lease or financing agreement, you could see your insurance skyrocket over a couple of smaller claims.”

Speak with your insurance broker to see how many comprehensive claims you can make before jeopardizing your coverage and to get advice about whether its worthwhile to submit a claim or if paying out of pocket will be the more cost-efficient option.

Your broker won’t report the claim to your insurance company unless there’s an injury or you ask them to, and leveraging their expertise can help you avoid unwanted insurance surprises.

Invest in aftermarket anti-theft devices

There are many different tools out there to help make your car more difficult to steal. There are tracking devices, immobilizers, alarms, on-board diagnostic port locks, steering and brake locks and more.

Investing in aftermarket anti-theft devices can make your vehicle less appealing to thieves and may also earn you discounts on your insurance coverage.

If thieves do break into your car, your anti-theft tools can be a good way to ensure your vehicle isn’t stolen and minimize the damage, making it easier to pay for any needed repairs yourself if you’re getting close to your insurer’s comprehensive claims limit.

At risk of losing your comprehensive coverage? It pays to shop around

When it comes to your auto insurance, it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting the coverage that’s right for you at the best price possible. This is even more vital when you need to get coverage from a high-risk market.

“Make sure you’re shopping the entire marketplace,” advised Mitchell. “Find a broker that works with a large number of insurance companies. The broader their network, the greater your choices will be. Even if you need to go to a high-risk insurer, there may be more affordable coverage options out there.”

Our brokerage recently spoke with someone who had submitted three comprehensive claims since 2023 due to auto theft. Because of this, their insurance company stopped offering comprehensive coverage. However, the driver needed it for their lease, so they had to find a new policy. Their previous insurance was around $2,600, but they were now being quoted $11,500 for a policy that included comprehensive insurance.

We were able to find a policy for less than $9,400 and that rate could be lowered to under $8,500 if the driver chose to enroll in the insurer’s telematics program.

“With the multiple claims, you’re going to be paying more and may have less coverage,” said Mitchell. “You’re now statistically considered a higher risk and your premiums are going to come with a heftier price tag attached to reflect that. Still, it’s beneficial to shop around and see all the options that are available. This will allow you to make the best choice possible, and could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your insurance.”

Have questions about Canada’s auto theft crisis and whether you have the right insurance in place to protect your car if it’s stolen? Curious about whether the new ride you’re considering is a high-theft vehicle? Looking for needed coverages and more affordable rates after making several auto theft claims? Our team of insurance brokers is always happy to help and provide you with free advice and no-obligation quotes. Give us a call today.

Looking for car insurance?

Speak with a Mitch Insurance broker today to get a quote on Ontario auto insurance.

Call now


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Didn’t find what you were looking for?

Check out some of our other insurance products.