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Keyless tech contributes

One car stolen every six minutes as claims hit record

Car keyKeyless technology is a major contributor to a record £1 million a day payout by insurers to victims of vehicle theft, according to figures published today.

A new vehicle theft claim is now being made every six minutes, says the Association of British Insurers.The figures reflect rising vehicle crime, with Home Office figures recording a 50% rise in vehicle thefts over the last five years.

ABI’s motor claims 2018 report published today shows that:

  • The cost of vehicle thefts (including from a vehicle), at £376 million, rose by 29% on 2017, to a record annual high. This equates to just over £1 million being paid every day. The number of claims, at 56,000, rose 12% on 2017, with a new theft claim being made every six minutes.
  • The cost of all motor claims paid, including property damage, personal injury and theft was over £8.6 billion. This works out at £16,000 every single minute. This was up by nearly half a billion pounds on 2017 to a record annual high. The average overall claim was £3,082.
  • £4.8 billion was paid out in vehicle repairs – repairing the policyholder’s vehicle or that of a third party and providing a replacement vehicle. The increasing sophistication of vehicles and a weaker pound contributed to more expensive vehicle repairs.

Laurenz Gerger, ABI’s motor policy adviser said: “The resurgence in car crime is worrying. The record amounts paid to motorists by their 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 reverse this unwelcome trend.

“Despite rising vehicle crime, UK motorists continue to get the most from a very competitive motor insurance market, which saw the average premium fall in 2018, the first annual decrease since 2014. But with cost pressures around theft and repairs remaining, implementing the Civil Liability Act is crucial to delivering a fairer compensation system for claimants and reducing high legal costs, to help ensure competitively priced motor insurance.”

Keyless car theft explained

Passive keyless entry systems, which allow drivers to open and start their cars without removing the key fob from their pocket, can be exploited using a technique called the ‘Relay Attack.’ Usually operating in pairs, one criminal will hold a device up against the car, to capture the signal it sends out to the key.

It then ‘boosts’ this signal to another device by the front wall of the house, which relays the signal to the key inside. This fools the car and key into thinking they are within the 2m range of operation, allowing the car to be unlocked and started. Once started the engine will not restart without the key present. 



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