ConsumerInfo on Auto Insurance

Insurance Bureau of Canada launches public awareness campaign on auto theft

TORONTO, Oct. 8, 2002 – Thieves are more likely to target older vehicles
than newer models, according to a new study released today by the Insurance
Bureau of Canada (IBC). In fact, vehicles aged eight years and older have
become Canada’s most frequently stolen vehicles.

“Auto theft is a serious problem that seems to be growing in this
country,” says Rick Dubin, vice president of investigations for IBC. “The
study results are extremely important because they demonstrate that no one is
exempt from becoming a victim of auto theft – including owners of older model
cars who may not realize their vehicles are being targeted by thieves.”

The objective of the IBC study – Theft Trends by Vehicle Age – was to
determine whether recent data collected was actually the result of a
developing trend or an abnormality.

Initially, the data seemed to indicate that older vehicles had become the
targets of theft claims to a greater degree than newer vehicles. IBC
researchers examined all auto theft claims reported by insurance companies
from across the country from 1993 to 2000. The average age of vehicles
involved in the theft claims was used as a factor to analyze whether a greater
number of either older or newer vehicles were being stolen over the time

The study includes the following major findings:

  • a greater number of auto theft claims originate from owners of older vehicles
  • age of vehicles involved in theft claims has been on the rise since 1993
  • theft of new cars has declined 50% since 1993
  • immobilizers (theft deterrent systems) seem to be making an dent in the theft of newer vehicles
  • most of the increase in auto theft insurance costs can be attributed to the owners of older vehicles

According to Rick Dubin, IBC has worked closely with auto manufacturers
over the past several years to encourage the installation of anti-theft
devices as standard equipment for new vehicles.

“While this initiative has allowed society to become increasingly
proficient at preventing the theft of new vehicles, we need to address the
increase in the number of older vehicles being stolen.”

Dubin suggests Canadian consumers have a role to play in making it more
difficult for thieves to steal cars and profit from the crime.

“The first step in that process is becoming more aware of how we can
protect our vehicles: increased vigilance, installation of approved auto theft
deterrent systems, and marking vehicle parts to make it more difficult for
thieves to sell the parts to chop shops.”

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the
private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents about 200
companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the non-government home, car
and business insurance in Canada. Visit the media section of the bureau’s web
site at for more news releases and information.