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Vehicle theft has increased by 50% in the last five years and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that the number of claims for vehicle theft is the highest since 2012, with a payment being made in respect of vehicle crime every 8 minutes.

In the last four years the overall cost of motor theft claims has doubled and works out at over £1.2m paid to policyholders every day.

This is surprising considering the improvements made to vehicle security over the last 30 years and whilst the traditional method of breaking windows and forcing door locks is still prevalent, more sophisticated means are being utilised. As vehicles become smarter and with the move towards autonomy, cyber security is an emerging risk for motor manufactures, insurers and drivers due to the threat of hacking and data theft.

Passive keyless entry systems that allow vehicles to be opened and driven if the key fob is in the immediate vicinity can be exploited using a technique called ‘relay attack’. Thieves using a signal boosting device can capture the signal from the key fob, allowing the vehicle to be unlocked and stolen within minutes.

 

What can you do the reduce the risk of your vehicle being stolen?

  • Keys should be kept in a secure location at all times and not withing easy reach
  • If you have a keyless entry vehicle –
    • Make sure your fob is kept well away from doors and windows
    • Consider using a signal blocking pouch, to store the fob when not in use
    • Check the manufactures handbook to see if it is possible to turn off the wireless signal
  • If you are unsure of the vehicle’s history of do not have both sets of keys considering getting keys reprogrammed
  • Consider fitting additional security devices – steering wheel locks, alarms and tracking systems
  • Park the vehicle securely – in a garage, or well-lit area
  • Avoid leaving theft attractive items on display in the vehicle when it is unattended
  • Ensure any vehicle functionality that is controlled by a mobile phone app is regularly updated in line with the manufacture’s guidelines

Having heard that there had been a spate of catalytic converter thefts in the local area, the team at PSP Risk and Motor wanted to put some information together to help keep your vehicle safe and secure.

Claims for theft of catalytic converters from cars has increased by over 40% and the vehicles most likely to be targeted are older low mileage petrol hybrid vehicles.

Why is theft of catalytic converters so attractive?

It’s because they contain a honeycomb coated with precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium which help to reduce and filter harmful gases from the vehicles’ exhaust systems. These precious metals can be sold to make money.

Unfortunately, the act of stealing a catalytic converter is relatively easy, but there are steps you can take to make it harder for the prospective thieve.

In order to steal the parts, thieves, need to gain access to underneath your vehicle to use cutting tools to detach the box and pipes. By parking half on the pavement and half on the road you are helping thieves to gain access, therefore ensure you vehicle is parked fully on the road and if possible, park close to walls or fence with your exhaust being closest to the fence, wall or kerb.

Arrange for your catalytic converter to be tagged with a unique serial number, this will make it easy to identify if it is stolen. You may also get a sticker you can put in the window warning would be thieves that you have tagged your catalytic converter.

For a fleet of vehicles arrange the parking with the low clearance vehicles to block the high clearance vehicles, therefore restricting access to the underneath.

If your vehicle is a target and you suspect the catalytic converter has been stolen, contact your insurer and arrange for the vehicle to be inspected for additional damage.

* Catalytic converter theft represented 19.8% of thefts from private vehicles October – December 2019 and 29.7% from January to March 2021, according to Ageas’  claims data.

 

Travelling to the EU/EEA from 1 January 2021

If you have plans to travel to the EU/EEA, including the Republic of Ireland anytime from 1 January 2021 you will need to ensure that you have the correct and up to date documentation.

Following the confirmation of the trade deal the following will apply –

Taking a car

In addition to taking a copy of your valid certificate of motor insurance, you will need to carry a Green Card. This will need to be obtained in plenty of time before you travel and cover the period of your journey . Once received you will need to carry the physical document, although it may not always be green, an electronic version (PDF) will not be accepted.

If you are taking a caravan or trailer, you will require an additional separate Green Card.

You may also be required to obtain an International Driving Permit to drive in the EU. This document which must be shown in conjunction with your UK drivers license is issued by the Government via local Post Offices. Depending on where in the EU you are travelling, will determine which International Driving Permit you require.

Healthcare

If you currently hold a European Health Insurance Card, this will continue to be valid until it’s expiry date.  A new arrangement has been agreed going forward and you can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card.

It is also advisable to ensure that you have suitable travel insurance that will cover your health care needs whilst in the EU. You will need to pay particular attention to the cover provided if you have pre-existing medical conditions.

For the most up to date travel information visit the Government visiting Europe website

Contact your Personal Lines account handler or usual PSP Branch to discuss your individual requirements.