How to keep your vehicle protected against the latest methods of theft


 Authored by Covéa Insurance

Over the years, we have seen the methods of vehicle theft change significantly. A few years ago, a thief might have been armed with a coat hanger and a screwdriver but these days, we are more likely to see them using a laptop or sophisticated ‘relay’ devices.

As methods of theft have progressed, methods of prevention have also had to keep developing. Whilst in days gone by, a car may have had an alarm, an immobiliser or even a tracking device, thieves have always found ways to compromise these devices. Even when a car owner thinks that they have done all that they can do to protect their vehicle, they can still suffer a theft.

It is certainly true that advances in security and tracking devices have introduced obstacles for thieves, but the losses have continued.

Furthermore, even when vehicles are recovered following a theft, we are seeing claims costs increase significantly.

With manufacturers installing their trackers in ‘standard’ locations, it is becoming common place to recover vehicles with cut up interiors and extensively damaged wiring looms where thieves have removed the tracking devices. These recovered vehicles result in claims of several thousand pounds not to mention the inconvenience to the vehicle owners. For this reason, we have started to move our focus towards theft prevention.

What advances have been made in vehicle security as a result?

As you may know, Thatcham’s highest rating for a tracker is S5 but you may have noticed many security companies mentioning S5 Plus (or S5+) devices. Security companies are doing this to demonstrate that their device may offer something above and beyond what is required to achieve S5 certification.

This obviously brings with it some degree of confusion and inconsistency because the S5+ is self-declared by the security company and not officially recognised or mandated.

This means that we could see two different S5+ devices but both offering very different levels of protection.

When we are looking at underwriting high risk vehicles, the differentiator that we are looking for is a form of ADR (automatic driver recognition) immobilisation. Whilst this can be sold as part of the overall tracking device, it is different to the ADR Tracker.

An ADR tracker will notify the receiving centre if a car is moved without the ADR tags in the vehicle. However, by this time the car has been taken and we are often seeing tracking devices being removed or disabled within minutes of the car being taken.

An ADR immobiliser will prevent the car being started at all if the ADR tags aren’t present in the vehicle.

Several companies are now releasing such devices and these include (but aren’t limited to) NoGo by On Board Defence, Metatrak S5 Deadlock and SmarTrack S5+ iMOB.

By working together to help customers understand what they are getting from their security device, we can work towards reducing vehicle theft and the impact that it has on us all.


About Covea

Covéa Insurance is the UK underwriting business of the leading French mutual insurance Group Covéa and offers competitively-priced household and motor insurance, along with a range of commercial insurance products designed to meet the needs of most businesses, through a nationwide network of intermediaries.  

Regional distribution teams based in 9 regional offices offer brokers and insurance intermediaries direct access to senior underwriters.  Covéa Insurance handles the insurance needs of over 1 million policyholders.

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