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.

Warning over new ‘flash for cash’ insurance scam

Criminals gangs tricking motorists before intentionally crashing into them

Investigators are warning about a new tactic by criminal gangs, dubbed ‘flash for cash’, where a driver flashes their lights to let another driver out of a junction, and then crashes into them deliberately.

The criminals then make money by putting in false personal injury claims for whiplash and loss of earnings, as well as submitting fake bills for vehicle recovery, repair and replacement car hire.

The Asset Protection Unit, which investigates fraud in collaboration with police and the insurance sector, has warned that the fraudsters often target elderly motorists or women with young children – drivers they believe will not challenge them on the scene.

And the new scam is harder to prove in court, because it comes down to the innocent driver’s word against the criminal’s that they flashed their lights to let them out.

 The number of flash for crash scams are not known, but the IFB estimates that 380 fraudulent personal injury claims from deliberate crashes are made every day and cost the motor insurance industry £392m every year.

 Detective inspector Dave Hindmarsh from the Metropolitan Police told the BBC: “[There are] emotional costs if you’re involved in a crash: you could well lose your confidence, and if your passengers are children they may well become wary of being passengers in cars, and of course you may get injured or killed.

 “It’s an extra £50 to £100 on every person’s premium, so that’s a financial cost.”


This article has been taken from The Insurance Times dated 16th August 2013