Car thefts show no signs of slowing down, but while advocates stress the need of prevention, some vehicle owners are speaking up about the costs they’ve faced even as their driveways still sit empty.


Joyce Madero-Buquid’s vehicle has been missing since Jan. 12 and while she received good news at the end of January that it was found, she’s now been facing costs even though she’s the one without a vehicle.

“Just write it off and give me my money back,” she told Global News’ Sean O’Shea in an interview Thursday.

The vehicle was found in a shipping yard in a container and sat in an impound police lot operated by Lyons Towing in Mississauga until Friday.

According to Madero-Burquid, the Canadian Automobile Association has paid out about $5,000 to Lyons for towing and storage. Another towing company working for CAA was scheduled to retrieve the vehicle Friday and has taken it for repairs.

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Her vehicle has finally been released, but she said she’s still making payments for a Jeep she doesn’t have. To top it off, she said the CAA notified her that her premiums will be going up by about $1,300 a year, in part because of the theft.

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In a statement to Global News, CAA said that the primary reason her insurance was increasing was because she did not renew her CAA membership and opted not to use a theft deterrent device, something they wrote would offset costs.

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However, insurance experts told Global News Canadians can face rising insurance premiums and car payments even if they’re not the one behind the wheel.

Matt Hands, vice-president of insurance at RateHub.ca, said when a theft occurs the first thing you’ll want to do is call your insurance company and file a claim.

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If you have comprehensive coverage, either on a leased car or one you own outright, you may still have to wait for the claim to be processed.

Whether or not it is found, if you were making payments on the vehicle before it was stolen, you’re going to likely continue doing so.

“They’re (the vehicle lender) not going to stop wanting payment,” he said. “So until you can get the claim to pay off the loan and get a replacement vehicle, you’re still on the hook for that.”

There’s also a wait when a claim has been made, Tara Laidman with the Co-Operators said, because the insurance company will wait a few days to see if a vehicle is recovered.

During that time without a vehicle, some owners do have the ability to get a rental that can be covered under insurance.

Depending how long it takes to find the vehicle, you could see costs mount if your coverage runs out and you’re left on public transit, or having to use ride-shares to get places.

Insurance premiums can rise

Insurance can be a big help for many, whether making a claim after it’s stolen, or with potential costs during recovery.

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Amanda Dean with the Insurance Bureau of Canada cautions, though, that there is the possibility of your premium going up.

“So all of the different risk factors, including a previous claims record as well, is this the third, fourth or fifth, claim that could potentially have an impact,” she told Global News.

Other aspects, including living in a high-risk area for auto thefts and even speeding tickets can come into play, with Hands adding a claim is more likely to happen during renewal.

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“You’ve had an incident, your vehicle in this case was a full-on write-off because it was stolen and replaced it,” he said. “There is going to be a cost associated.”

You do have rights during the recovery process if it’s found, especially if you had comprehensive coverage on your car.

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Hands said this can help with repairs needed or missing items from the car when it was stolen, the trip of the vehicle to an auto body shop, or other aspects.

According to Laidman, this is where communication with your insurer is key and not only after it happens.

“No one wants to plan for when their vehicles are going to be stolen,” she said. “Talk to your insurance professional regarding the coverages that you need.

with files from Global News’ Sean O’Shea

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