Payouts for motor theft insurance claims are accelerating out of control and are now at their highest level in seven years.
Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show motor theft insurance claims for January to March were higher than for any quarter since 2012.
It said a rise in keyless car crime, where one criminal stands close to the car with a device that boosts the signal meant for the key, while an accomplice stands close to the house with another device relaying the signal to the key, contributed to the increase.
Home Office figures also show that car theft has risen by 50% over the past five years.
The cost of motor theft insurance claims has also risen, with the ABI saying that insurers paid out £108m in the first three months of this year – more than a fifth up on the same period last year.
Despite the rise in payouts, the ABI said the average price for motor insurance was at its lowest level for two years to £466.
Motor theft insurance claim stats:
- 16,000 claims for the theft of or from a vehicle were settled by insurers – this is the highest quarterly figure since 2012.
- The cost of motor insurance theft claim payouts was £108 million, up 22% on the same period last year.
- The cost of vehicle repairs, to both the vehicles of policyholders and those of third parties during the quarter, was £1.2 billion – the highest quarterly figure since the ABI started collecting this data in 2013.
‘Growth in car crime must be reversed’
Laurenz Gerger, ABI’s motor insurance policy adviser, said: “The continued growth in car crime must be reversed.
“Car security has come on leaps and bounds but needs to keep pace with the ingenuity of car criminals.
“The rising number of motor theft insurance claims being paid in part reflects the vulnerability of some cars to keyless relay theft.
“Action by motor manufacturers to tackle this high-tech vulnerability, allied with owners taking some simple, inexpensive precautions will help put the brakes on this unwelcome trend.”
9 simple steps to reduce the risk of motor theft
Motor insurance experts at Adrian Flux offer 9 simple steps to help prevent you having to make a motor theft insurance claim.
- If possible, keep your car garaged overnight
- If you can’t park in the garage, park in a well-lit area
- Consider additional security such as an immobiliser or tracker
- Ensure your security devices are activated when the car is not in use.
- Don’t leave any valuables in clear view in your vehicle
- Invest in CCTV trained on your parking space
- Never leave your car with its engine running
- Always lock the vehicle, even if you are leaving it for a second, to pay for fuel for example
- If you have a keyless car, turn off the signal overnight or keep the keys in a signal-block pouch