Stolen vehicles are a huge cost to each and every one of us, including those who do no own cars. There is the value of your loss, which, if insured, is paid out of the insurance company’s pool for theft claims. If you have replacement transportation coverage, there is the cost of the rental until your vehicle is either recovered, or a settlement is offered for the loss. Stolen vehicles end up in “chop shops”, in containers for shipment overseas, and used for crimes such as bank robbery, and a high number of gasoline drive-offs. Every year, hundreds of people discover they have purchased stolen vehicles that have had VIN# changes, and they have the vehicles seized, of course, losing not just the vehicle but the money they paid for it. Often times, police have recovered vehicles that have been taken for joyrides, and have damage to the body, front end, transmission, and/or engine, meaning some of the vehicles are written off, and others have expensive repairs needed. Joyriding car thieves have no consideration for the property they have stolen, or traffic laws for that matter. Those expenses are only the start. Property inside the vehicles, sometimes many hundreds of dollars worth, is rarely recovered, and this can necessitate a home insurance claim as well. Often the stolen vehicles driven by joyriders have inflicted other damages during the madcap drive. Some joyriders have driven down residential streets, bouncing off as many vehicles as they can possibly damage. Some of the vehicle have been run into houses and other buildings, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars damage in some cases. Enterprising groups of thieves have taken several vehicles at a time to the top of a riverbank, and run them down, driver-less, onto the ice in the middle of winter, with some of them, of course, falling through. Some of the worst expenses, and most horrendous damages, have occurred when these cars have been raced, resulting in high speed collisions with innocent people, both other drivers, and pedestrians. Serious injuries and even deaths have been caused by the drivers of stolen vehicles. Every year, in Canada, an average of 40 people are killed and 65 injured as a direct result of stolen vehicles. All of this costs us as insurance policy holders, and as members of society as well. It is incumbent upon each of us to do what we can to minimize theft. People still, after all these years, leave cars running with keys in the ignition, outside stores while they run inside for “just a minute”. That has to stop. The Club is not perfect, but deters the joyriders that just want an easy theft. Every police force has recovered stolen vehicles with unused Clubs sitting on the back seat, on the floor, even in the trunk. I can’t emphasize how dumb that is! More vehicles are coming with immobilizers, and many people are purchasing aftermarket immobilizers. These are not the ultimate solution, but they are preventing a lot of thefts. If you are considering an aftermarket immobilizer for your vehicle, make sure to consider one tested and approved by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. You can get information on-line, or talk to your insurance broker. These devices pretty much ensure your vehicle will be in the driveway when you go out to drive. People often forget the simplest act, that of taking your registration and insurance papers with you when you park the car. You would be surprised how many people phone their insurance to find out the serial number because the thief has the car and the paperwork! When he has your paperwork, he also has your address. If you have a nice car, you probably have other nice property at home he would like to come by for. Be aware of the consequences of auto theft, and the things you can do to at least minimize the likelihood you will be a victim, and we will all save money. The less the insurance company pays out, the less they need from our pockets.