You can reduce your car insurance premium by a number of ways, and one is making sure your car is as secure as possible. Standard security features have improved vastly over the years, to the point that many cars already have an immobiliser and alarm system fitted.
Yet some high-end models might still benefit from additional security because of the higher risk of theft. But which is the best car security device when there are so many gadgets on the market? And which is more likely to lower your insurance premium?
If you fit to your car a security system that has Thatcham certification, you may well be offered a lower premium by your insurance company. Thatcham Research works with British insurers to rate the security of cars and aftermarket security systems.
The main aim of Thatcham Research, a not-for-profit research centre, is 'to contain or reduce the cost of motor insurance claims whilst maintaining safety standards'.
Fitting a Thatcham cerified alarm or immobiliser doesn't guarantee that your car won't be stolen, but it should reduce the risk, particularly for more expensive cars. Thatcham Research approves products in a number of categories.
Usually used in conjunction with an alarm, immobilisers prevent thieves from driving your car away. Most cars have them fitted as standard, but you could consider getting one fitted if you have an older car. New or high-end cars are at a greater risk of theft, so they could benefit from extra protection.
Your insurer will be happy to advise you on whether you need one. If you can't stretch to an electronic immobiliser, you can get a mechanical one that fits across the steering wheel to prevent it from turning.
Locking wheel nuts
Designed to stop thieves stealing the wheels off your car, locking wheel nuts can only be removed with a special key. They're widely available but vary depending on the vehicle, so check your car before you buy. Locking wheel nuts are standard on most cars now, so you may already have them.
Vehicle tracking systems
These devices emit electronic signals which allow your vehicle to be located if stolen. The signals will often use multiple frequencies – GPS, VHF, GSM – to combat jamming technologies that were developed as a response to trackers.
Many vehicle tracking systems are supported by UK police forces, who – assuming they have the time – will work with the vehicle tracking device manufacturers to recover stolen vehicles.
Telematics, dash cams and parking sensors
As technology develops at an ever-increasing pace, there are a number of devices not yet covered by Thatcham, though they may be approved by your insurer.
Black box systems or telematics monitor your driving and can share that data with your insurer. Until recently this would have required a separate device (the black box) installed in your car, but some insurers only need a dedicated smartphone app.
As well as keeping drivers safe, telematics data help insurers to calculate risk on an individual level, rather than at a group level. This is perhaps why telematics insurance policies are growing in popularity among high-risk groups, such as young drivers.
These in-car, road-facing camera systems record constantly while the engine is running. They can be really helpful if you're involved in a crash where witnesses have conflicting views of what happened. As a result, a growing number of insurance providers – including us – are accepting footage from dash cams as evidence in claims. And some may offer a discount for if you have one installed.
Using sound waves and sometimes cameras, parking sensors detect nearby people or objects and give a warning if you're too close. Many cars have built-in parking sensors, but they're not usually on entry-level models. You can get them fitted to your car, and there are many reasonably priced systems on the market. For our insurance, parking sensors are not considered as modifications.
If you're thinking of adding any security features to your car, talk to your insurer and they'll let you know if or how it'll affect your premium.
If you're looking for car insurance, get in touch and we'd be happy to tell you more about our comprehensive cover, which has been given a 5 Star Rating by Defaqto.