Motor theft payouts made every 8 minutes

Insurance payouts for vehicle theft are continuing to rise, with keyless car crime said to be one of the factors behind the increase.

The latest quarterly report from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reveals that motor theft claims paid by insurers in the first three months of this year were at the highest level of any quarter since 2012.

It comes after Home Office figures showed a 50% rise in vehicle thefts over the last five years.

A significant number of thefts are perpetrated by criminals using technology to bypass a vehicle's passive keyless entry system. Using a technique known as a 'relay attack', thieves can trick a vehicle into thinking that the key is closer than it really is, enabling them to gain entry and drive off.

Insurance payments are now made to a car crime victim every 8 minutes and the cost of these claims has risen by over 20% compared to the first quarter of last year.

Laurenz Gerger, ABI's motor insurance policy adviser, commented: "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 theft claims being paid by insurers 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."

In recent tests, Thatcham Research gave 5 of the 11 vehicles launched this year a 'Poor' rating as the keyless entry/start system they have as an option has no security measures to prevent theft by criminals in a relay attack.

If your car is fitted with keyless technology, the ABI recommends three simple steps to reduce the risk of theft:

1. Park in a well-lit area.

2. Keep your car keys well away from external doors or windows.

3. Turn off the signal overnight or keep the keys in a signal-block pouch.

For information on getting a quote visit our car insurance page.