WHILE improvements in vehicle security systems are cutting the number of cars stolen each year in the UK, the majority of those taken in 2008 now involve the theft of car keys from the owner, according to figures from esure car insurance.
Since January 1, 93 per cent of esure’s car theft claims where the car is worth over £10,000 and has either failed to turn up subsequently or has been found burnt out have resulted from claims where the car’s original keys were used to steal it. And nearly three quarters of these (72 per cent) were following a burglary at the policyholder’s home.
The most alarming new trend that esure has seen this year is that of ‘gym locker car thefts’ where thieves follow gym users from the car park into their sports centre or gym, make a note of the changing room locker used to store their belongings, and then force it open to steal the keys and then the vehicle. This type of claim has accounted for four per cent of esure’s theft claims so far, this year1.
Other types of car key thefts have included 11 per cent where the keys were stolen by violent car jacking and three per cent where the car was driven off as the owner opened the boot with the keys still in the ignition.
Gordon Hannah, Head of Claims at esure car insurance, said: ‘It is a concern that improvements in car security are now driving hardened criminals towards much more serious crimes in order to steal cars. Insurance is there to protect our customers’ cars but this type of theft puts car owners and their homes at risk too.’