Welcome to our McCutcheon customers!YoutubeTwitterFacebook

Free Quote613-966-5740

Mackay Insurance Blog


June 2024

Five anti-theft devices that can lower your auto insurance



The alarming spike in car thefts in Ontario has had an unfortunate side effect: it’s also increased auto insurance rates.



Since 2022, car theft in Ontario has increased by nearly 50%. One of the biggest reasons? Remote keyless entry fobs, meant to make driver’s lives easier, can have their signals hacked by thieves using relay devices. These criminals are then able to copy the signal to a blank entry fob, access your car and drive off with it, sometimes in less than a minute.

As stolen cars are often shipped overseas by organized crime rings, many of them are never recovered. The price of replacing so many stolen vehicles raise insurance costs for everyone…even for consumers who have never been considered high-risk. 

If you’re a car owner, it’s a frustrating scenario for sure: you’re already worried about losing your car to thieves, and now you also need to worry about increased insurance costs as well.

Here’s some good news, though. If you’re like the many people in Eastern Ontario who have invested in anti-theft devices for their cars, you may be eligible for a lower insurance rate as well. If you aren’t using vehicle anti-theft devices yet, now is the time to start. You’ll help protect one of your largest investments and you’ll lower your insurance costs as well.

Here are five anti-theft devices that can lower your auto insurance. While none of these are 100% foolproof, they should thwart most would-be thieves.

  1. Car key signal blocker. It’s somewhat reassuring that sophisticated car theft tools can be thwarted by a simple piece of fabric. Signal blockers consist of a small pouch that’s lined with RFID blocking material. Once you place your car keys in the pouch, all transmissions to and from the key fob are, yes, blocked. Would-be thieves will be unable to hijack the fob’s transmission frequency, so they won’t be able to unlock and start your car.
  2. A steering wheel lock. Remember that staple of 90s infomercials, The Club? Well, it’s back and it’s one of many steering wheel locks on the market. Cyber thieves may be able to hack your key fob, but if you’ve placed a lock on the steering wheel, your car won’t be going anywhere until it’s removed.
  3. Vehicle immobilizer. This does exactly what its name implies: it immobilizes your car. When it’s activated (usually automatically after you shut off the car), it disengages engine control units or circuits. This means that until the immobilizer is disabled, no one will be able to start or even access your vehicle. You can have an immobilizer installed on your car for less than $100.
  4. Onboard diagnostic (OBD) port lock. Your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port, or OBD port, is how updates and diagnoses are made from the vehicle’s onboard computer. Unfortunately, it’s also how many professional thieves are able to override your car’s systems so they can steal it. An OBD port lock prevents thieves from plugging into your car’s brain, so to speak. They’ll then be unable to get in your car, clone a start key or make off with your vehicle.
  5. Brake pedal lock. Much like the steering wheel lock, brake pedal locks prevent the brake pedal from being used. A heavy steel mechanism is placed around the brake or clutch pedal, holding it in place so it can’t be pushed to the floor. Even if thieves are able to start your car, they won’t be able to drive it away until the lock is removed.

If you already have some or any of these devices in use, let your Mackay Insurance broker know right away. Since you’ve added anti-theft measures to your car, you might qualify for lower rates on your auto insurance. These devices make it less likely your vehicle will be stolen, so covering it is less of a risk for insurers.

Here are a few other auto theft prevention tips.

  • Store your vehicle in a garage when not in use. While not everyone has access to a garage, those of us who do should use them for parking their car-especially at night.
  • Never leave your car keys by the front door. The closer your keys are to your car, the easier it is for thieves to use relay devices to pick up their signal. Keep your keys in your bedroom or the room that’s farthest away from the driveway.
  • Invest in security cameras. While they may not deter more brazen thieves, they will make identifying them much easier.

Again, it’s important to note that no anti-theft measure is completely foolproof. These tips and devices will, however, slow down even professional car thieves. Since these criminals need to act quickly to avoid being noticed, anti-theft devices make it more likely they’ll leave your vehicle alone.

If you want the best insurance coverage for your car, Mackay Insurance can help. We’ll make sure your car, truck and other vehicles are fully protected against everything…including thieves. If you’re using anti-theft devices, we may even be able to get you a better rate.

Click here for your free, no-obligation quote for auto insurance, and the get the coverage your vehicle needs.

Login to post comments.

Home-based business insurance: four things you need to know

Home-based business insurance: four things you need to know

More and more people are choosing to run their business out of their own homes. After all, it can be one of the biggest perks of working for yourself: it's zero commute, your office can be designed to suit your preferences, and you always know there's going to be something good for lunch in the fridge.

It is important to know, though, that a home-based business still faces the same liability risks as any business - and those liabilities are not covered by your home insurance. 

This means that without the proper insurance coverage, your business could be left high and dry if you are the victim of a robbery, if there is a business disruption beyond your control, or if a customer is injured on your property. All the hard work you have put into making your business a success could be in jeopardy if you have not invested in on thing: home-based business insurance.

Here is the good news, though: it is very easy to tack on home-based business insurance to the existing insurance on your home. Once it is in place, you and your business will be protected against liabilities that might arise.

Before we dig further into this, here are two important things to consider if you run a business from your home:

  1. What insurance does the business need?
  2. Does your home insurance policy permit that business to be operated from your home?

In every instance where you operate a business from your home, it is critical to have a discussion with your home insurance broker. You'll need to ensure that your home insurance policy is not affected by the business you operate from your home. The next step is to look at the business insurance you need on the business itself.

For now, here are four things you need to know about insurance for your home-based business.

You might not realize your home-based business requires its own insurance.

I have met with business owners who assumed that their home-based business didn't require extra insurance. In some cases (for example, if you are a copywriter or editor) this might be correct. For the most part, though, if you are running a business out of your home, you're going to need home-based business insurance.

If you are trying to decide whether or not a home-based insurance plan is needed for your business, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do you have customers coming to your home?
  2. Are the products you make/sell from home dangerous to those within your home?
  3. Do you have high-value equipment stored on your property?

If you answered “YES” to any of the above, you need home-based business insurance to protect you and your company. If your products or equipment stored at home, harm someone, or if you're the victim of a robbery, these exposures simply you won't be covered by regular home insurance.

Here are just a few examples of home-based businesses that require home-based business insurance.

  • Housekeeping services
  • Catering services
  • Baking services
  • Floral designers
  • Christmas tree farms

These businesses either use specialized equipment onsite, store materials onsite which could be hazardous if used incorrectly, or require customers to enter the property.  For these reasons alone, home-based insurance is vital.

Home insurance doesn't cover losses and liabilities to your business.

This can't be stressed enough: any losses, injuries or damages related to your home-based business won't be covered by home insurance. Anything in your home that's either exclusively or primarily used for your business is considered to be property of that business. This is why you need the correct insurance to cover your home-based business against any injuries or damages from clients.

As a rule of thumb: if clients and customers are going to be in your home or on your property, you need home-based business insurance. This includes businesses such as:

  • Home daycares
  • Music schools
  • Beauty salons
  • Chiropractic clinics
  • Massage therapy

These types of businesses require clients to be on site in order to receive services. Home-based business insurance ensures that these types of businesses are protected if a customer is injured on your property or damages your equipment. If you run a business like the ones above, make sure you have home-based business insurance.

Contractors need home-based business insurance as well.

Many contractors use their home address as their business address, store equipment on their property (such as a pickup truck or work van), and usually have a home office and computer for keeping track of clients and invoices. This means that in addition to contractor's insurance, contractors need home-based business insurance as well.

These are a few types of contractors who often run their business from their homes:

  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Landscapers
  • Cabinet makers
  • HVAC installers

While nearly all of their work is performed at clients' homes and properties, these contractors still need to insure their equipment and office space on their home properties. If their work vehicle is stolen or damaged while parked at home, or if their home office is compromised during a robbery, these contractors probably won't be covered unless they have home-based business insurance.

Having a home-based business protects you against many business disruptions.

It's great being your own boss, but it's also extra stressful when something goes wrong at the worst possible time. A truck breaks down right before a deck installation. An oven stops working during wedding season. A flood in your workshop destroys several pieces of equipment. It's enough to keep any business owner up at night.

Home-based business insurance can provide a safety net against temporary disruptions such as these, along with extra peace of mind. With the right coverage, potentially devastating breakdowns and damages can become mere hiccups on the way to getting the job done.

If you're looking for just the right coverage for your home-based business, you're in the right place. At Mackay Insurance, we've helped businesses like yours across Eastern Ontario protect themselves, their equipment and their livelihoods against the unexpected.

Click here for your free, no-obligation quote for insurance on your home-based business, and find out how Mackay Insurance can help you be sure.

Login to post comments.