Being a victim of car theft is something that we all, as drivers, fear. However, on top of the emotional stress such an event incurs, there are also unfortunately many financial issues that often arise as a result. As well as the obvious loss of the value of the stolen vehicle, it can also have a negative impact on your car insurance. Stolen vehicle recovery expert Tracker puts the spotlight on how to reduce the risk of theft and avoid insurance premium nightmares...
The average cost of an insurance premium rises by a staggering £629* following the theft of car.
What Other Costs Can Arise From Car Theft?
Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker, says, “Having a car stolen can have a huge emotional impact on a victim, leaving many feeling violated, fearful and angry. But there are also financial repercussions. Not only will insurance companies take into consideration the theft of a car when it comes to renewing premiums, the claimant may well lose their no-claims bonus too. This can have hefty financial consequences later down the line if they are involved in an accident. However, there are a number of preventative measures that people can employ to avoid being stung both emotionally and financially.”
How Can I Avoid Car Theft?
When buying a car, people should always consider the vehicle’s security rating – the higher the better. The insurance industry groups cars together into brackets using security rating data from Thatcham Research, alongside other factors such as vehicle performance and new car price. This determines the cost of an insurance premium. Fitting a Thatcham approved vehicle tracker can help reduce insurance premiums and most insurance companies mandate a Category S5 system is fitted to vehicles over a certain value. Tracking systems under this category offer the most security features, ensuring the security of a vehicle.
When Alpesh Patel realised his £55,000 Mercedes-Benz S500 AMG had been stolen from his driveway in Harrow, London, he immediately alerted Tracker and was reunited with his car within just five hours. Furthermore, the Tracker device installed on Mr Patel’s car led the Essex Police Stolen Vehicle Intelligence Unit and Essex Police Road Crime team to an illegal chop shop, where they made two arrests and discovered fourteen stolen cars, worth a total of around £600,000.
Keyless Car Theft On The Rise
With an increasing number of cars now featuring keyless entry and start, car thieves have moved on from stealing keys and hotwiring, to signal jamming and key cloning. Thieves use these sophisticated methods to bypass a car’s digital security signal with astonishing success. Tracker data reveals tech-savvy criminals employing keyless car theft technology were responsible for 93% of all the stolen vehicles it recovered last year – a 27% increase in the last 5 years.
The good news is manufacturers are stepping up to the challenge, introducing new technologies to combat these crimes. These include motion sensor key fobs, which enter a sleep mode after being motionless for a short time and in turn, become impossible to clone and ultra-wide band (UWB) radio technology, which adds another layer of signal security to key fobs, offering further reassurance to owners.
Continues Clive Wain, "Tracker’s Thatcham approved S5 Plus product has a driver ID tag which alerts owners if their car is started and moved without the driver id tags present. This is particularly useful in the event of a keyless car theft.”
Finally, Tracker urges people to shop around for the best deal when renewing motor insurance premiums, particularly if they have been a victim of vehicle theft. It is all too easy to fall into the automatic renewal trap, but competition is thriving amongst insurance providers with many willing to compromise on past claims history.
Tracker’s top tips for vehicle security
- Protect your key fob: Keyless car theft works through a relay-style electronic device tricking your key fob signal into thinking the key is near to the car and then the device can assume all key fob power. To prevent this, keep the key – and the spare too - away from where the vehicle is kept when not in use, and block the signal by keeping the key fob in a closed tin or faraday bag.
- Switch off and lock up: Never leave your car running idle and unattended, even when defrosting windscreens and windows on a cold morning.
- Make life difficult: Fit security posts or a substantial gate if parking on your drive, physical barriers will make thieves think twice.
- Don’t advertise your stuff: Never leave your belongings on show, lock them in the boot or take them with you.
- Keep paperwork indoors: Don’t store car documents or spare keys inside the car as it makes it easier for thieves to sell it on.
- Plan for the worst: Take car security measures to protect your car from being stolen in the first place, such as installing security lighting where you park your car and using a steering wheel lock. If criminals find a way to steal your car, having a Tracker fitted can help the authorities to recover your vehicle.