The production of keyless cars can be traced back to the late 90s, but it is only recently that keyless, push-to-start cars have become a common sight on UK roads. Drivers still need a key fob to gain entry to the car, but they no longer need to press a button to open their doors or turn the key for the ignition to start. This feature was introduced predominantly for practicality, but the security of these cars is not secure. In fact, in the UK, keyless entry cars are twice as likely to be stolen than regular entry cars. So, how can the British public save themselves from keyless car theft, and what insurance do they need?
In our 2023 study, we found that, although 61% think keyless cars are a good idea, over half are worried about keyless car theft (52%). In this guide, we will explore keyless car theft, how to protect your car from being stolen, and how general car insurance and GAP insurance can help should the worst happen.
In our recent study, we found that 73% of people thought that keyless car thefts were on the rise, and they are. Theft of keyless start cars has risen significantly over the last five years due to thieves finding new, undetectable ways to steal cars. Also, the equipment needed to steal a keyless car is relatively cheap, which is why it is a growing problem.
Keyless cars can, however, be protected from hacking.
Can Keyless Car Fobs Be Hacked?
As previously mentioned, it is becoming increasingly easy for thieves to hack car fobs and steal cars within mere seconds. There are various ways you can protect your car from being stolen, and preventing your key from being hacked.
Keyless car thieves use a relay transmitter and an amplifier to make cars think that the key is closer than it actually is, meaning the car can be unlocked and driven away in seconds. This has led more people to be wary of keyless entry cars, taking out extra insurance policies such as GAP insurance and Keycare to protect their investment.
If you are concerned about your keyless car being stolen, GAP insurance can help make up for the loss of your car. At ALA, we also provide Keycare to help you replace and protect your key fob should it be misplaced or stolen.
How Do I Protect My Keyless Entry Car?
There are various ways you can help deter thieves from stealing your car. These include:
Keep your keys away from windows and doors: car key fobs can easily be hacked if they are close enough to windows and doors, as the signal can be intercepted. Try keeping your keys in a safe place where hacking can be harder, and consider investing in a signal blocking box.
Keep your car software up to date: out-of-date software can be more susceptible to bugs and malware, making hacking much easier.
Use a steering wheel lock or car alarm: thieves are less likely to target cars that have been equipped with a steering wheel lock and have stickers indicating the presence of a car alarm.
Most car insurers should include key cover as standard in their comprehensive insurance policies. However, you should always check your policy documents first; all safety mechanisms should be utilised otherwise the claim could be refused. Despite this, only 36% of the respondents in our study said that their car insurer could help them if their car key fob was stolen. The other 64% said they weren’t covered, or they aren’t sure.
Even if your car insurer does provide key coverage as standard, there’s a chance you won’t be able to claim against your lost keys unless you have a crime reference number. Car key insurance doesn’t just cover the replacement of your keys, it can also cover the cost of changing the locks and resetting the immobiliser. If your car is keyless, your insurer can also make sure that no one can unlock your car with the old key.
Here at ALA, our GAP insurance policies can protect you should your vehicle be written off or stolen. If you are the victim of keyless car theft, we can top up your comprehensive car insurer’s settlement to make sure you get back the full amount of what you originally paid for the car. If you took out a finance or lease agreement, this would include cover for your outstanding monthly payments.
We also provide Keycare cover to help you out should your keys be stolen or misplaced. We can also cover locksmith charges, and provide you with a SmartFob to keep track of your keys at all times. SmartFob uses Bluetooth to link your keys to your phone, making them easier to track down and saving you the hassle of waiting for replacement keys.