Motor theft claims are at their highest level since 2012, research from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows, with insurers paying out to policyholders every eight minutes during Q1 of 2019.
Home Office figures show vehicle thefts are up by 50% in the last five years, due in part to an increase in keyless car crime or relay theft. Using this method, it’s possible for criminals to get round keyless technology in just 20 seconds.
The latest version of the ABI’s quarterly motor insurance claims report shows there were 16,000 claims for theft either from or of a vehicle, compared to 14,000 for the same time last year.
Theft payouts totalled £108 million, an increase of 22% on last year, meaning over £1.2 million was paid out to car crime victims each day this quarter.
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 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.”
Vehicle repair costs also increased during this time period to £1.2 billion, the highest figure since the ABI started collecting this data in 2013. This reflects the cost of fixing newer cars with more sophisticated tech, which often costs more to repair.
Despite all this, average car insurance prices are £466, the lowest for two years.
To find out more about keyless car theft, take a look at our guide to relay theft and how to prevent it.