A close up on a hand pressing the lock button on a key fob shows one way to prevent car theft

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says car theft costs Canadians close to $1 billion each year. What can you do to avoid becoming a target? While it isn't always possible to predict or prevent auto theft, check out this quick video with a few simple steps you can take to protect your vehicle from being stolen:

6 ways to prevent car theft

Car theft is on the rise. Follow these simple steps to deter potential thieves and protect your vehicle.

  1. Lock your car and close all your windows.
  2. Keep valuables hidden in the trunk or glove box.
  3. Park in well-lit, visible areas. Try to park close to busy building entrances or in view of a security camera.
  4. Hide your keys instead of leaving them in an obvious spot. Did you know thieves can hijack a wireless key fob's signal to open and start a car? Store your keys away from your front door so the signal is weaker.
  5. Install a physical anti-theft device, like a steering wheel lock.
  6. Utilize your car's alarm system.

If your car doesn't have a built-in alarm system, consider installing an aftermarket system.

Keep your car secure with these proactive parking tips!

Protect what matters most.

  • Stash your valuables in the trunk or glove box. If someone sees your laptop or wallet (or even just some loose change) sitting in your car, they could be tempted to break in and take it — and once they're inside, it'll be mighty tempting to drive away, too.
  • Park in well-lit, visible areas.Car thieves perform better without an audience, so avoid parking in dark alleyways or other hidden spaces. For extra security, try to park close to building entrances or parking lot cameras.
  • Lock it up and shut it down. Avoid leaving your windows open or doors unlocked, even in your own driveway — and never (ever) leave your running car unattended. It might be tempting to start your car and leave it to warm up on a chilly winter morning, but a running car with an unlocked door and no driver in sight could be pretty irresistible to a thief.
  • Hide your keys.While it might seem like a good idea to keep your car keys on a hook by the front door, it's also the first place a thief will think to look for them. Whether someone breaks into your house or just opens your unlocked front door, they'll be thrilled to see a shiny set of keys just waiting to be taken.
  • Sound the alarms.If your car didn't come with a built-in alarm system, consider having one installed — and don't forget to put a sticker on your windshield to let thieves know an alarm is in place.
  • Create a physical barrier. Consider enhancing your vehicle's security by using a physical anti-theft device like a steering wheel lock. Not only will it make the thief's job a lot harder, but if the metal bar is visible from outside the window it could scare them off before they even get started.

Today's car thieves are also taking advantage of keyless entry remotes and push-start buttons. If your car has these features, take these extra steps to protect your vehicle from electronic auto theft, too.

Car theft can still happen even when you’ve taken all the right steps to prevent it. Take these steps if you discover that your car has been stolen to increase your chances of finding your car, help kickstart your insurance claim, and get you back on the road sooner.

It isn't always possible to predict or prevent auto theft, but you can take steps to deter potential thieves and protect your vehicle from being stolen. Keep these tips in mind next time you park your car.

Did you know you could be eligible for discounts on car insurance if you use an aftermarket anti-theft device like a steering wheel lock or alarm system? Reach out to your licensed broker to find out if you qualify for a discount or to learn how your car insurance policy will protect you if your vehicle goes missing despite your best efforts to protect it.

Want to help other drivers protect their vehicles from car thieves, too? Share these tips on Facebook or Twitter.