8 car theft prevention methods and how they affect insurance premiums


The world of classic and specialist car ownership is ever-changing, with new technologies making cars safer and easier to use. But unfortunately it has presented new challenges in the form of car security with theft on the rise.

Car insurance premiums have been on the rise over the past year, so understanding the ins and outs of car theft prevention methods and their affect on premiums is important for UK car owners.


Introduction to car theft

Car theft in the UK has changed a lot in recent years. It’s not just smashed windows and hotwiring anymore; today the biggest worry for car owners is related to car theft which sadly is on the rise.

In 2022/2023, there were over 130,000 motor thefts in England and Wales, marking a significant rise from the 108,000 incidents reported the previous year. This highlights a growing challenge in vehicle security.

SmartTrack are a prominent leader within the vehicle monitoring and stolen vehicle recovery sector. They have reported that 68% of their recoveries in 2023 were as a result of keyless theft, further showing the importance of theft prevention methods.


The rise of keyless car theft: its impact on insurance premiums

Keyless car entry was supposed to make everybody’s lives easier. But this convenience also attracted the attention of tech-savvy thieves.

Thieves employ techniques such as ‘relay attacks’ to bypass the security of keyless systems to gain entry and drive away. Understanding this is important as there are methods that you can do to prevent the thieves from succeeding, some of which can affect premiums.

Range Rovers have become prime targets for thieves, and the vehicles are heading towards becoming uninsurable if theft rates continue to soar. Some insurers have stopped insuring them, or they now provide a quote which only makes it worthwhile for them to cover. Some annual premiums have even risen as high as £14,000 which is a colossal increase to which they were some years ago.

Due to their high theft rate and becoming almost uninsurable, prices of the vehicles are declining with owners selling below market value.

It’s not just Range Rover premiums that get affected though. With the unusually high number of stolen vehicles and insurers paying out more than they anticipate based on the premium prices they issued, premiums are affected across the board.


The importance of vehicle theft prevention

We want to help make sure your vehicle is safe and that you have all the information you need to make smart choices about your vehicle’s safety. While effective vehicle theft prevention is the primary objective to scaring off thieves, we’re also going to note some methods which may be able to positively influence your insurance premiums.

Let’s get into it.


Anti-theft devices and methods which DO affect car insurance premiums

By taking proactive steps to reduce the risk of theft, the insurers recognise there is a lower risk so they can offer minor financial incentives.

Some measures you take can directly influence the cost of your insurance, offering you peace of mind and potential savings. Here are a few key anti-theft methods that are recognised by insurers that we work with which can help to reduce your premiums.

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Somebody using a GPS tracking device on their mobile device.

1. GPS tracking device: A modern solution for vehicle recovery

In the unfortunate event that your car is stolen, having a GPS tracking device installed can significantly increase the chances of recovering your vehicle.

This technology allows your car to be tracked in real-time, greatly assisting police and third-party companies in their recovery efforts.

Insurers value the added security that GPS trackers provide, and as such, installing one can often lead to discounts on your insurance premiums. They are occasionally a requirement on some specialist vehicles by insurers too. It’s a testament to how modern technology is being used to combat car theft and reduce risks for both owners and insurers.

Whilst there are cost-effective options such as the Apple Airtag, these do not qualify for discounts on insurance premiums. However, there are specialist trackers such as Global Telemetrics that do provide enhanced vehicle security in the eyes of the insurers. These need to be Thatcham-approved which provide: 24/7 monitoring, alerts for unauthorised vehicle movement, driver recognition systems and immobilisation features.

With a GPS tracking device, the insurance company will need proof of the device installation certificate to apply a discount to the premium. In the event of a claim, proof of an up-to-date subscription is required for a pay out too.

We offer exclusive discounts for Global Telemetrics GPS trackers, minimising the cost to protect your vehicle. Find out more here.


A classic car inside a secure garage.

2. Garaging your car

If you have a garage, one of the simplest yet most effective ways to protect your vehicle from theft is by garaging it. By restricting access to your vehicle, this is one of the best ways to prevent theft.

Depending on the vehicle’s type, value and location, some insurers make it a requirement for vehicles to be garaged due to the increased risk.

A car kept in a locked garage overnight is considered to be at a lower risk of theft compared to one parked on the street. Insurers recognise this reduced risk and may offer lower premiums as a result.


A thief standing by a car when an alarm is going off.

3. Car alarms and immobilisers

Traditional yet incredibly effective. Car alarms and immobilisers play a critical role in deterring potential thieves.

Car alarms and immobilisers draw attention to unauthorised attempts to access or move your car. The immobiliser prevents the engine from being started unless the correct key or fob is used, and an alarm being activated makes it more difficult for thieves to take action with the noise drawing attention when they’re under pressure.

These devices are not only deterrents but they’re also markers of a lower risk vehicle in the eyes of insurers, especially on modern specialist vehicles. Therefore, it’s always worth mentioning and proving you have one for potential minor discounts off your premium!


Anti-theft devices and methods which DON’T affect car insurance premiums

While some security measures can directly influence your insurance premiums; others – despite their effectiveness in deterring thieves – might not have the same impact on your premiums.

But despite not translating into immediate savings on your insurance, it’s important to recognise these methods which collectively will improve the security of your car.


A thief using an antenna to attempt to steal a car. A signal blocking device is preventing it.

4. Signal-blocking case for keyless car keys

As previously mentioned, keyless theft is on the rise. Thieves are amplifying the signal from a key fob to gain entry to your car which is a growing concern.

The most common form of keyless car theft involves signal relaying. Using a signal-blocking case/pouch is a low-cost, effective way to prevent your key’s signal from being amplified by thieves for keyless entry.

These car key signal blocks can be purchasing for £6 from Halfords. We advise trying a few other methods in addition with this for extra security.


A steering wheel lock on a classic car wheel.

5. Steering wheel locks

Another visible, physical deterrent which can make thieves think twice before attempting to steal your car is a steering wheel lock.

A car’s steering wheel locks prevents the wheel from turning, making it difficult for the car to be driven away. The lock can only be unlocked with a dedicated key, so anyone without the key will not be able to drive.

It’s important that you make sure you purchase a steering wheel lock that fits on your car, or it won’t be as effective.

Steering wheel locks are an affordable option to prevent theft and they can cost in the region of £20 to £100. Getting a bright coloured lock is not a bad idea as it will act as a deterrent and potentially scare of thieves.


A car cover protecting a classic car.

6. Car covers

Using a car cover is another way to protect your vehicle from theft. It acts as a deterrent and adds an additional layer of cover (pun intended) by obscuring your car’s make and model from thieves.

Car covers are most effective in public places where the vehicle may not be driven often, or in less secure parking areas.

Speaking of car covers, if you’re a Heritage customer and this method is of interest, you can get a 10% discount on specialised covers for whether it be for your classic, specialist car or campervan.

Dependent on the vehicle, good car covers can cost around £200/£250 for a high quality, specialist cover.


A classic car protected with a gated driveway.

7. Gated driveways or drop bollards

For those that have a driveway, installing gates or drop bollards at the entrance of your home can significantly enhance the security of your car.

This method can act as strong deterrents to potential thieves by creating physical barriers to accessing and stealing your vehicle.

Despite not being recognised as a qualifying factor for discounts by insurers, nonetheless, they contribute greatly to vehicle security.


A CCTV camera overlooking a classic car.

8. CCTV coverage

Installing CCTV cameras can deter potential thieves too as it increases the likelihood of detection and identification.

Having a CCTV system, or even a Ring doorbell, could potentially aid in the recovery of a stolen car. If your car was to be stolen, having video evidence to identify the thief can also help in a police investigation.

Not just car protection. Many people opt for CCTV for home protection for peace of mind, so it becomes cost-effective when used for other purposes too.

Qualifying for insurance discounts by protecting your car with theft prevention methods by Heritage Insurance

Qualifying for insurance discounts with an anti-theft device

So, you’ve now taken necessary steps to protecting your vehicle from theft.

Next, you can seek clarification from your insurer whether they’re able to apply discounts when your policy is up for renewal. In most cases, the insurance company will require proof of your anti-theft device or method; photo evidence or official documentation is normally sufficient.

The insurers will then assess the security of your vehicle to determine the level of discount you’re eligible for. It’s important to note that the requirements and discounts will vary on a case-by-case basis, as other factors such as your driving history, vehicle and location come into play too.

Some insurers may offer a straightforward percentage off your premium for any approved anti-theft device, while others might adjust the discount based on the device’s effectiveness and the perceived risk reduction to your vehicle.

The most important thing is that your vehicle is as secure as can be, but if you’re also able to get insurance discounts in the process, that’s always an added bonus.

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