Insurers are driving extra anti-theft requirements for high value vehicles

As figures from the Office For National Statistics (ONS) reveal that vehicle thefts rose by a quarter in England and Wales last year, an independent insurance broker is warning owners of top of the range vehicles that they may find it hard to get insurance cover or miss out on claims, if they don’t have the correct anti-theft precautions in place.

The warning from TL Dallas, which has offices throughout the UK, follows a significant increase in the number of thefts of high value cars, including Range Rovers, Land Rover Defenders and Mercedes, which has seen insurance companies respond with demands for increased security measures before providing cover.

Michelle North Gower from TL Dallas, which provides a personal insurance broking service to private and commercial clients across the UK, said: “When buying or leasing a high value car it is essential people understand that the standard, factory fitted security trackers are not always enough for insurers these days, especially as thieves are using high-tech methods including relay attacks, key cloning and signal blocking to breach cars’ security systems.

“Strict Thatcham Cat5 trackers, which are the highest specification car tracking devices approved by insurers, plus extra immobilisers and ghost systems are essential, with the majority of insurers also preferring vehicles to be stored in garages or behind locked gates.

“Insurance companies are understandably asking for more precautions following the rise in the number of stolen to order high value vehicles. It doesn’t help that many dealerships don’t make this clear when selling cars, which are often worth six figure sums, especially when extras are added on. Some dealerships tell buyers that ghost immobilisers will invalidate the warranty, which doesn’t help the situation, as insurers are asking for them to be fitted, so it’s a catch 22.”

A ghost immobiliser system uses the buttons in a vehicle, such as those on the steering wheel, door panels or centre console, to allow the owner to create a unique, changeable, disarm sequence, like a PIN code, that must first be entered before the car can be driven.

Michelle added: “These ghost systems do not interfere with the electrics or integral wiring of the car at all. They are a stand-alone immobiliser that talks straight to the engine, and they are a great way of preventing vehicle thefts, especially on those with keyless entry systems, as they won’t allow the engine to start without the PIN code, even if you have the key! We can suggest an installer who fits ghost systems for between £400 and £500 at the client’s home.

“As well as ghost systems and traditional deterrents like steering locks, Faraday pouches are a must, as they block the keyless signal when the fob is inside it. CCTV and smart doorbells also act as deterrents. 

“If a car is stolen, tracking systems provide a way of recovery.” According to vehicle receiver service firm, Tracker, having a tracker system in place provides a 95% rate of recovery.

Michelle added: “Tracker solutions work like an electronic homing device. They can’t stop wireless signals being intercepted, but they can significantly increase the chances of a car being recovered and returned.

“It’s important that owners of high value vehicles understand that they need to invest in extra vehicle security or face the reality that an insurer won’t insure the car in the first place, or if it is stolen, not pay out. As insurance brokers we can advise on what precautions can be put in place and liaise with insurance companies to make sure every box it ticked.”

To find out more about personal and commercial motor insurance contact: TL Dallas on 01274 465 500.

How to avoid underinsurance as building costs inflation reaches record high

Underinsurance remains a concern for many people and businesses. Underinsurance worsened during the COVID pandemic, and the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters has reported that over 40% of all commercial claims exhibit some degree of underinsurance, which is now compounded by soaring inflation.

A new guide from the British Insurers Brokers’ Association (BIBA) advises how to avoid it, and BIBA member, TL Dallas is keen to meet with clients to ensure the right levels of insurance are in place.

Written with loss adjuster and BIBA valuation facility provider, QuestGates, the new ‘guide to valuations’ looks at macro issues that impact sums insured. It also highlights the importance of reviewing sums insured and making accurate valuations of buildings, plant, machinery, and other contents as well as estimating suitable indemnity periods in business interruption cover. 

Managing Director, Polly Staveley, from TL Dallas, added: “Underinsurance is a serious concern and can leave a policyholder responsible for a large percentage of a loss where the discrepancy is significant. Part of our role is to try to ensure this doesn’t happen and advise clients on setting correct sums insured, albeit we are not professional valuers so we recommend their services should always be sought.

“We will also assist with setting the right levels of business interruption cover and indemnity periods, which are especially critical as there are often long delays in deliveries of replacement machinery and also building material supplies are still somewhat disrupted. This new guide from BIBA will act as a great aide-memorie when it comes to reviewing clients’ policies.”

Alistair Steward, director at QuestGates highlighted that: “Getting the sums insured stated correctly at the time of inception of the policy makes the claims process so much easier, avoiding difficult conversations with customers around underinsurance and enabling prompt and full claims settlements.”

To download a copy of the guide, click HERE and to arrange a call with TL Dallas contact your nearest office. 

No place like home – keeping art properly protected on the move

When a piece of art is static and in its regular ‘home’ – whether that’s a painting on a wall or sculpture on a plinth, it is usually well protected and unlikely to get damaged. It’s when clients need to move their art – either to a different home, overseas or to an exhibition or museum – we see increased risk to these valuable pieces.

When people think about threats to artwork, front of mind is usually theft and fire, but it’s more mundane risks like moving art when we see the most damage, and these claims are often the most challenging.

High profile examples of damage to masterpieces and ancient works of art in transit shows how real this threat is. In 2001 Rembrandt’s ‘Portrait of an Elderly Woman’ arrived in Moscow from Houston with a large gash in the canvas. In 2000, the 9th Century Book of Kells was reportedly affected by vibration after a flight from Ireland to Australia. If damage can occur to such pieces, it drives home the need for every owner of art to ensure they are doing everything to mitigate risk when their pieces are on the move.


Leave it to the specialists

Clients should be just as discerning about their transit company or shipper as they are about their art collection. The art market is, after all, completely unregulated. There’s no code of conduct, so you rely on the specialist knowledge and experience of shippers and packers. Fine art shippers can work with auction houses, curators and collectors on a loss prevention analysis to assess the best way to move the item and to arrange for adequate handling and storage throughout the journey. However, there will always be times of increased risk, particularly with international transit. Curators and owners often choose to travel with artworks but even they can’t go in the hold! A condition report can be carried out on both sides, before the piece travels and when it arrives, much like when you hire a car on holiday, which gives both the owner and insurer peace of mind.

“We always advise our clients – commercial and private – to use a professional shipping company who specialise in transporting different types of collections. Nevertheless accidents can still happen. Many of the losses you see in transit are down to human error such as a third party putting a forklift through a crate or dropping an artefact while being carried.”


Preparing to manage moving art

We appreciate our clients may often have more than one property and will want to move their art or antiques between homes, sometimes overseas. There can also be frequent movement between galleries and museums.

There are three key areas to think about:

• Collectors often don’t think about insurance from the moment of purchase. Once bought, at the auction house or a private sale, it is the collector’s asset and needs to have cover in place, especially when it is being transported. You should be aware of insurance policy conditions following new purchases. Some policies provide automatic cover for newly acquired art and antiques up to 30% of the total sum insured under this section provided your insurer is advised within 60 days of the purchase.

• Artwork is at its most vulnerable when it is being moved, so it is vital to use a professional and specialist transit company who will treat the item like it is their own. Auction houses and dealers will be able to make these recommendations, as will your insurance broker who will have personal knowledge of the leading international fine art shippers and packers.

• Collectors are increasingly buying art as an investment. Whatever their motives for collecting it is important they maintain up to date valuations for their collection.


For further information contact Michael Gregson, TL Dallas Private Clients on 0131 322 2634 or email


Source: Dr James Lindow, Underwriting Director, Ecclesiastical’s Art and Private Client Team