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Motor Vehicle Security [Hardfacts]


Vehicle crime continues to be a fact of life in modern society and there is every chance that you or someone you know has been a victim of vehicle crime.

Most car crime can be prevented and therefore vehicle security and preventative measures should be uppermost in the minds of the motoring public. This Hardfacts contains information to help you to protect your vehicle and its contents.

Vehicle Security Measures designed to reduce the risk of car crime

Immobilisers and Alarms
Immobilisers prevent the engine from starting without the original key or transponder by isolating at least two of the operating circuits.

Electronic engine immobilisers should be:


  • Thatcham (The Motor Insurance Industry Repair and Research Centre) approved.
  • Fitted by a Thatcham approved and accredited installer.

All volume produced cars have a thatcham Immobiliser fitted as standard, adding a Thatcham/VSIB alarm can enhance the protection afforded by an existing immobiliser.

Alarms will deter opportunist thieves, from both stealing your vehicle and stealing from your vehicle. However, an alarm alone will not prevent your vehicle form being stolen; they must be fitted with an immobiliser.

Steering Wheel Locks

Steering wheel locks are a cheaper alternative to immobilisers which act as a highly visible deterrent.

However they need to be fitted every time the vehicle is left unattended to be effective.
Details of locks that meet the Thatcham criteria can be obtained from the website details below.

Tracking Devices

If you own an expensive vehicle or one which has sentimental value, you could enhance security further by adding a tracking device which meets with the Thatcham Category 5 after Theft System Criteria. These systems mean that your vehicle's location can be recorded on a detailed mapping system, enabling the vehicle to be located and recovered quickly following a theft.

More detailed information on the Category 5 Systems can be accessed on the Thatcham website.

Other Measures

  • Ensuring that your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is etched onto windows, continues to act as a deterrent because it makes it very difficult to change the identity of the vehicle.
  •  Equipment that is kept in your vehicle such as the jack and spare wheel can be security marked using an ultra violet pen. Pens are available from your local crime prevention officer.

Common sense actions that minimise your likelihood of becoming a victim of vehicle crime

When you park or leave your vehicle it becomes a target for thieves and you need to be aware of this threat and take actions to minimise its appeal!

Thieves particularly look for out for easy targets such as:

  • Older unprotected vehicles
  • Vehicles left with unlocked doors or open windows
  • Vehicles with valuable items left on display.

By implementing the following "Top Tips" you will reduce the attractiveness of your vehicle to vehicle thieves.

Summary Action Points


  • Do your own Risk Assessment and upgrade security arrangements where identified
  • Remain vigilant all the times. Common sense measures defeat approximately 90% of vehicle crime
  • Never leave possessions on display when your vehicle is unattended
  •  Practice defensive parking, even if it requires a little more walking
  •  Immobilise it, Lock it Or Lose it!!

Top Tips - Parking

At Home

  •  If you have a garage, use it! Lock both your car and the garage
  • If you don't have a garage, try and park in a well-lit open place
  • Keep your keys in a secure location. (See Hardfacts 11002)

Car Parks

  • Try and park in an attended car park
  • Look for signs that say Secured Car Park which are car parks that have been included in the Police Approved Car Parks Scheme, these have standards of design and management that makes them safer. A list of secured car parks can be obtained from your local crime prevention officer, or by visiting

Public Places


  • If you cannot find a car park, avoid parking in places with easy access, hidden from public view, which have many escape routes. Think like a thief! If you could do it so could they!

Top Tips - Possessions


  • Never leave anything, even items that you deem to be worthless, on display. To a thief, your old jacket could be viewed as a target because it may have a purse or wallet in it.
  •  If you do have to leave items in you vehicle lock them in the boot and isolate your boot/tailgate from the central locking at all times to provide an additional level of protection from opportunist thieves

Top Tips - Garage Forecourts

Garage forecourts continue to be popular hunting ground for both opportunist and organised vehicle thieves. To reduce your vulnerability, follow these practical steps:


  • Before refueling, ensure all windows are closed, the keys are removed from the ignition, and all doors are locked
  • Do not leave attractive items such as handbags, wallets or laptop computers on display. Lock them out of sight in the boot

Check Your Cars Security Rating

Assessment of total vehicle security involves testing the effectiveness of alarms and immobilisers, door entry security and the security of windows. Thatcham, on behalf of the ABI (Association of British Insurers) launched the New Car Security Rating scheme (NCSR) in July 2001. As part of this scheme, all new cars are assessed and given a detailed rating on each aspect. This enables consumers to make an informed choice about which car to buy based on how secure the vehicle is.

Contact the NCSR at: - Click Security

Vehicle security devices:


MIIRRC Website Thatcham

ABI Motor Claims

Aviva Knowledge Store website

Aviva Risk Management Solutions Risk Adviser

To find out more:

  • Useful Motor Risk Templates are available for you to download free of charge - visit our ‘Tools and Templates' section
    For more information on useful products and services to help you manage your vehicles and drivers please view our Specialist Partners
  •  For more information on Aviva Risk Solutions, please call 0345 366 6666 or email us at

Please Note
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.

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