10 tips to reduce car theft as claims for keyless vehicles rise
The increase in theft claims, by drivers with a keyless car, were mainly found in urban locations, according to claims data from the insurer Aviva, which has around 18 million customers.
It is warning those with keyless cars to be more mindful of their surroundings as the winter draws in and there are more dark mornings and evenings.
The insurer says all vehicle theft claims have risen by 13% over the last two years but that these remain a very small proportion of overall car insurance claims.
Majority of thefts take place after dark
In 36% of incidents of car theft in England and Wales for the year ending March 2020, criminals accessed cars using keyless technology, according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). This is a rise from 13% in 2019.
Ten years ago, 29% of vehicles targetted by criminals used a mechanical device for security such as a steering lock and that figure fell to 15% in 2020. In that period the use of devices such as central locking, car alarms and tracking devices had increased.
The majority (76%) of vehicle-related thefts also happened during the hours of darkness, the ONS report found.
Yet the percentage of vehicles taken in these hours has fallen, to 65% in the year to March 2020 from 77% the previous year. This suggests thieves are becoming bolder as they are stealing more vehicles in daylight hours.
The majority of cars (73%) were stolen from people’s homes.
Alec Reeder, performance lead for Aviva General Insurance says: “Over the past two years, we’ve found claims for stolen keyless vehicles are twice as likely as those for for non-keyless vehicles. While theft claims account for only a small proportion of our vehicle claims overall, we understand that a stolen car can be very distressing for owners.
“We’d encourage people to take extra precautions, particularly at this time of year, when thieves have the added advantage of reduced daylight.”
Ten tips to reduce the risk of vehicle theft
There are lots of ways to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of car theft and Aviva has put together the following:
- Always lock the door and make sure to close the windows and sunroof if you have one.
- Buy a steering wheel lock or foot pedal lock
- Purchase a signal blocking pouch, container or box to keep your car keys in (often sold as “Faraday” items). These devices prevent signals from your keys being intercepted and manipulated by thieves
- Fit a vehicle tracking system. Some cars already come fitted with vehicle tracking systems but unfortunately, criminals know exactly which models feature tracking devices. Considering fitting your own vehicle tracking device
- Park the vehicle in a locked garage or secure area.
- Park your vehicle in a well-lit area
- Don’t leave anything in your vehicle
- Consider the use of immobilisers to prevent the engine from starting without a correct key or fob.
- Never leave the keys in the ignition
- Consider CCTV, locked gates and increased home security.