Luxury Cars Targeted By Relay Gangs

Thu 15th Oct 2020

An increase in keyless car thefts has targeted vehicles at the top end of the market according to data published by one of the UK’s biggest insurers.

Overall car theft claims have risen by 20 per cent since 2016 according to LV Insurance, but the rate of crime has risen significantly higher in major urban areas. London’s vehicle theft claims have gone up by 265 per cent in the last four years, while Birmingham, Nottingham and Greater Manchester have all seen rises in excess of 100 per cent.

Keyless car theft has been on the increase over the last decade as technically savvy gangs have learned how to intercept the car fob signals and relay the signal to the car, mimicking the car fob and tricking the car into thinking it needs to be unlocked. 

Unfortunately the keyless technology features on the cars at the expensive end of the market, with brands such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes, Porsche and Tesla accounting for 48 per cent of all ‘theft of’ vehicle claims.

Heather Smith, managing director at LV General Insurance, said: “From keyless cars, to Apple’s recent CarKey partnership with BMW, which means drivers can unlock and start their vehicle with an iPhone, car technology continues to advance.

“But unfortunately so do the methods criminals use to steal them, so consumers need to keep on top of new innovations and take extra precautions to ensure they stay one step ahead of criminals who may try and take advantage of them, and their cars.”

According to LV’s data, the average claim ranges from £6,000 to £15,000, depending on the type of claim.