There were a lot of horrified faces across Alberta in 2014, when police busted an international auto theft ring doing business on their doorsteps. More than 100 luxury sedans, SUVs, and high-end trucks had been stolen, according to reports by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, “legitimized with counterfeit vehicle identification papers, then sold with fraudulent bills of sale."
It's a salient example of why carrying adequate auto theft insurance is so important.
Cost and Found
Only 53 of the stolen vehicles were returned to their legal owners, some having been found in Quebec, Edmonton, Calgary and Fort McMurray, with others as far afield as Ghana in Africa. With less than half recovered when the investigation was put to rest, in March 2014, the police still put the value (of the retrieved vehicles) at more than $3 million. That meant more than $3-worth were still missing, and without auto theft insurance, all that cash might have come from the legal owners' pockets.
That’s a lot of money, especially put in this context:
- The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that, averaging losses across the country, a car is stolen in Canada once every seven minutes
- Statistics Canada, the government's national statistical agency, confirms that marginally more than 19,000 of those thefts take place in Alberta
Auto Theft Insurance
Of course, it’s against the law to drive without minimal insurance. This comprises of the following:
- Liability, often called third-party coverage, which covers harm to other people’s persons and property
- Accident Benefits Coverage, which may cover a portion of your losses and expenses if you’re in an accident with an unidentified vehicle or an uninsured driver
- Personal Liability and Property Damage, which covers the other party's losses, if you you are found to be at fault
That said, though, there’s little sense of satisfaction in showing a police officer your proof of insurance, after your car has been stolen, if that’s the last you’ll ever hear from any official party.
Without comprehensive auto theft insurance, you may well be left to your own devices from this point on, wondering where all the money’s going to come from to buy another car or truck.
There are several other add-ons you can purchase, called optional coverage, including No-Fault Insurance and Collision Insurance. Of these elective policies, comprehensive auto theft insurance is the best.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be the victim of a theft, and you have effective comprehensive auto theft insurance in place, the process of recovering your losses should be simple and straightforward:
- Report the theft to the police
- Get all the contact information of the police department, and of the specific officer who filed your report
- Get a police report number
- Contact your auto theft insurance brokers with that information, and your policy details. Be prepared to confirm the make, model and manufacture year of the stolen vehicle, along with its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Ask to file a claim, which may well be done over the phone or via the Internet
A claims representative should promptly guide you through the remainder of the process. It may take several weeks to receive your auto theft insurance payment, putting you eventually in position to buy a replacement vehicle, so be sure to confirm the procedure for getting an insurance covered rental in the meantime.
Without comprehensive insurance, you will most likely be footing the bill for that rental yourself.
For more information on your auto theft insurance options, contact ARC Insurance today.