Aviva: Looking forward to your vacation? Thieves are too

May 31, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – As spring turns into summer, more and more Canadians start taking advantage of the warmer weather by spending a greater amount of time outdoors. Aviva Canada Inc., one of the country’s leading providers of home, auto, leisure and business insurance, is reminding all Canadians to take precautions when away from the home as thieves take advantage of summer too.

Aviva insurance claims data shows that residential burglaries spike in summer months with a 13 percent, 22 percent and 32 percent higher frequency in June, July and August respectively, than February, which shows the lowest occurrence of residential theft claims.

“Canadians just provide more opportunity for theft to occur in the warmer months,” said Wayne Ross, Vice President of National Property Claims at Aviva Canada. “The longer residents spend away from their homes, without taking the proper precautions, the greater chance that thieves will strike.”

One of the key precautions is a monitored security system. An Aviva-led customer survey indicates that while some Canadians take precautions against theft, only 33% surveyed have a security system.

Friday is a favourite for thieves, value of stolen items on the rise

Aviva insurance claims data also indicates that break-ins are more common at the start of the weekend, with Friday showing the greatest incidence at 25% higher than Sunday, the day with the lowest incidence of break-ins. The good news for Canadians is that burglaries overall are on the decline, with Aviva data showing an almost 50 percent decline in burglary claims between 2003 and 2011. National data from Statistics Canada also shows a 6 percent decline in break and enters between 2009 and 2010.

While the frequency of burglary is on the decline in Canada, the value of property being stolen is on the rise. Since 2003, the average dollar value of the articles stolen from burglaries has increased 51 per cent from $4,574 to $6,912 in 2011 – attributable to the popularity of easy-to-grab valuable items such as tablet and laptop computers, cell phones, video cameras and gaming consoles.

Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia trend higher than rest of Canada

Based on 2005 to 2011 Aviva Canada data, Quebec homeowners have the highest frequency of break-ins at almost two times that of the national average. At just over one third of the national average, the Atlantic Provinces have the lowest frequency of burglary claims.

Province Frequency of Burglaries (vs. National Average)
Quebec 96% above the national average
Manitoba 40% above the national average
British Columbia 19% above the national average
Alberta 4% above the national average
SK, NT, NU, YK* 2% above the national average
Ontario 19% below the national average
Atlantic Provinces* 64% below the national average

“Intruders usually enter your home in one of three ways; the basement, forcing entry through a window or door, or simply opening an unlocked door or window,” said Ross. “With this in mind, homeowners can take simple precautions to prevent an intruder from entering their property.”

Aviva Canada suggests these precautions:

  • Consider upgrading the locking systems on your doors and windows. Ask yourself if you could easily force entry;
  • Ensure all windows and doors are locked when out of the home or overnight, and when moving into a new property have the locks changed;
  • Make a home look occupied when you’re away. Park a car in the driveway, leave some household lights and a radio on, ask a neighbour to collect mail and newspapers and mow your lawn;
  • Install a security device with a loud alarm or flashing lights. Some alarms contact authorities directly when they have been activated;
  • Do a home inventory with your video camera, it will take minutes, but will save you the stress and heartache of listing all of your possession. The Aviva customer survey also indicates only half of respondents have some form of home inventory.

If you return home to find you’ve been the victim of a burglary, contact your insurance broker as soon as possible after alerting the authorities. Aviva also offers a single point of contact to begin the claims process quickly and efficiently. The toll-free claims line is 1-866-MY AVIVA, and it’s open 24/7 so customers can talk to an Aviva Claims Care Advisor immediately.

About Aviva Canada

Aviva Canada is one of the leading Property and Casualty insurance groups in Canada providing home, automobile, recreational vehicle, group and business insurance to more than three million customers. A wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the world’s sixth-largest insurance group, the company has more than 3,000 employees, 25 locations and 1,700 independent broker partners. Aviva Canada and its employees invest in positive change including through the Aviva Community Fund and Eva’s Initiatives, its partner in Aviva’s global Street to School program to help homeless and other at-risk youth reach their potential.

For more information visit AvivaCanada.com, our blog or our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.