The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has reported an increased demand in Alberta for pickup trucks and other vehicles has led to a glut of vehicles stolen in Eastern Canada ending up on the market in Alberta. How can you protect yourself both from auto theft and from purchasing a stolen used vehicle?
Be Extra Diligent With Commonly Stolen Models
The models that the IBC identifies as being at greatest risk of having been stolen are the Honda Civic and popular four-wheel and all-wheel drive truck models such as the Ford 250 and 350. If you have one of these models, consider taking a few extra security measures such as not leaving them unlocked in your driveway or making sure that you park them in your garage every night. If you are looking at purchasing a pickup truck or a Honda Civic, it may be prudent to stick to reputable dealers rather than going through a private sale.
Get a CarProof Report
CarProof provides vehicle history reports that will not only tell you if you're dealing with a stolen vehicle, but will detail accidents that the car has been in. Most reputable auto dealers will give you a free CarProof report when asked, or even have a copy available for you to review in the vehicle itself. If you are purchasing a vehicle in a private sale, purchase your own CarProof report to make sure that you aren't being given a doctored copy. A report can be easily changed using graphics software.
Did you know that you can get a report similar to CarProof for your home? Its called HomeVerified and it is certainly worth considering!
Know Your Vehicle Identification Numbers
Every vehicle must have a vehicle identification number (VIN) prominently displayed in multiple locations on the vehicle, with the only exception being older vehicle models. Well-organized thieves have been known to replace them, but ensuring that the VIN on the dashboard matches up with the VIN on the inside of the door is a good first step to ensuring that you aren't dealing with a stolen vehicle. If they don't match, don't buy the vehicle.
Purchase From a Reputable Dealer
While you can generally find a better deal on Kijiji or through other private sales, it may be worth that little extra to purchase one of the "hotter" models through a dealer. They've generally run all the checks we're suggesting and aren't likely to be selling stolen cars. Smaller dealers, or "curbsiders" may be more of a risk than a major dealer but reputable ones will offer free reports and run the same checks that larger dealers do.
Pre-Purchase Inspection at a Mechanic
Most private sellers won't balk at allowing the vehicle to be inspected at a mechanic, although you'll be expected to foot the bill for this. A mechanic will have a keener eye for signs of a stolen vehicle than you will, and will also be able to tell you about any potential problems with the vehicle that can help you work down the price point.
Contact Police if You Suspect a Vehicle
If you notice something shady about a vehicle that you're looking at for purchase, such as non-matching VIN plates, contact your local police with information. If you're wrong, there's no harm done and most honest sellers will welcome an investigation. If you're right, you could be helping to bust a crime ring.
If you're looking for insurance for your vehicle, look no further than Alberta-owned First Foundation. Our insurance brokers that will do whatever it takes to make sure you and your vehicle are protected with the best policy we can find at rates you can afford.