How to prevent commercial vehicle theft

Un véhicule de style commercial

It’s your typical morning. As you head back to your truck to go to a job site, your vehicle is nowhere to be found. Shocked, you realize that your Ford F-150 has been stolen. You should know that this isn’t an isolated case. That’s because the theft of commercial vehicles is on the rise. And Quebec is no exception.

Coveted vehicles

If you own several commercial vehicles, chances are you’re concerned about rising car theft. This is especially true because you’ll sustain financial loss and see decreased productivity in your company. What’s causing this hike in car theft you’re wondering? It’s mostly due to decreased inventory at car dealerships since the pandemic. As a result, the market has exploded worldwide. These thieves, who are part of a sophisticated and organized network, are out to cash in on a good deal so they steal SUVs, 4x4s and vans whose parts are resold for commercial purposes. Those most commonly targeted are sold to construction contractors such as the Ford F-150, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Dodge Ram and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Often easy targets, these vehicles are equipped with high-end equipment and material that are then exported or resold to unsuspecting individuals.

Highly advanced technology

Thieves are keeping pace with evolving technology by using highly sophisticated techniques such as duplicating electronic keys, hacking into security systems and falsifying documents. For example, they can break into cars and reprogram the remote control key to start the car... in less than 30 seconds.

A few tips to thwart thieves

1. Train your staff to take steps to prevent theft.

  • Never leave the key in the ignition or any vehicle unattended while it’s running, even during pickup or delivery.
  • Make sure doors are locked and windows are closed.
  • Park the vehicle strategically in a garage or in a well-lit high traffic and secure area.
  • Turn the wheels to the curb or roadside and set the parking brake.
  • At the end of the day, store extra sets of keys in a safe place away from the front doors or in a magnetic box if they’re electronic keys.

2. Make sure that your vehicles are equipped with an anti-theft system, steering wheel lock or vehicle tracking and recovery system.

3. Install security devices such as cameras, gates or motion detectors near your business or your own parking lot.

Impact on your insurance premium

A stolen or unrecovered commercial vehicle could increase your commercial vehicle insurance, since your insurer has to replace it. This also means that your insurer may consider you to be at greater risk after a theft. That said, the impact of this theft will vary based on your profile, features of your vehicle and your geographic location.

You should also take the time to speak to your advisor about ways to reduce your car insurance premium. For example, have an anti-theft device installed or have the main parts of your vehicles marked. Reducing the number of people allowed to drive it could also work to your advantage, including updating the use and maintenance of the vehicle.

Reporting theft

Has your vehicle been stolen? Report it to the authorities. They’ll give you a police report. Then notify your insurance company and give them the police report number. In both cases, have your automobile insurance certificate on hand. Just a word of advice: always keep this document in a location other than the vehicle. This simple step will make your life easier if you need to file a claim.

Is your vehicle equipped with surveillance cameras or a GPS system? You should know that images and navigation information could be used to identify criminals and locate your vehicle.

Finally, you should keep a copy of all documents related to the incident, including the police report, maintenance invoices and proof of vehicle purchase to expedite a possible claim.