The hassle of going through every bag or jacket pocket to find your keys is frustrating. Whether it’s a post-it note on the door, a hanging key holder or a little tray on a side table, we all keep our keys where it’s most practical – near the front door.

This logic is very risky, if you drive a keyless car. It’s cool, it’s modern, it’s easy to use but it’s also easy to take advantage of.

Whilst new technology is making our cars safer overall, the increased manufacturing of cars with keyless entry systems is resulting in more thefts.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), car theft has increased in the UK by 29%, and the number of insurance claims for car thefts has risen by 12% since 2017. Four of the five best-selling car models are now susceptible to keyless thefts.

What is keyless theft?

The new keyless entry system allows owners to open their car as long as the key is nearby, for example in a pocket.

Keyless theft, also known as relay theft, is when thieves use the signal between the key and the car to take control. They relay the signal to a receiver near the car, making the car think the key is actually there.

Working in pairs, thieves will target a car parked outside a house, trusting or knowing that the key is near the front door. One will then hold the receiver by the car, while the other goes near the door to relay the signal. Once inside, the same technology can be used to start the ignition and drive off easily.

Most of these thefts take place in cities and during the evening or night.

How can I protect my car from keyless theft?

1. Block the signal

Thieves need to be near your key to relay the signal so the easiest way to stop them is cutting off that signal. Don’t just trust a metal box or wrapping your key in foil – with the increase in keyless thefts, there are now several anti-theft pouches you can buy, like Faraday wallets, to protect your key properly.

Definitely keep your keys away from the door and windows!

2. Don’t neglect the basics

With modern technology, we’re getting used to things being made easy for us, and you might even forget to lock your car. Make sure you look for the flash whenever you do, and listen to the sound of your locks closing before you walk away.

Always park your car in a secure area and don’t leave any valuables on display. A locked garage is your best bet, if available.

3. Switch off the tech

With some keys, you can turn off the wireless signal. The feature might not be obvious so check this in your manual or call the manufacturer to confirm.

Leaving on your Bluetooth or Wi-Fi can also leave your car vulnerable, as thieves could find a way to hack into your entertainment system. Anything you can switch off – switch off!

4. Trust old-school

You might see the wheel-lock as something embarrassing, but some old ways are still efficient. A wheel-lock will delay the theft of your car and make driving away almost impossible. For thieves prepared with tech devices, a wheel-lock could be a real deterrent!

Tyre barriers or gates are also likely to get the thieves looking for an easier target.

5. Track your car

Tracking won’t prevent your car from being stolen but it’ll help you to find it before it’s taken apart and lost forever. With an insurethebox policy the black box installed in your car can track the location, working closely with the police – our theft recovery rate is 90%!

Having your car stolen isn’t something we normally worry about, there’s insurance for this stuff! Until it happens. Not only a violation of your security, having your car stolen can be a real nuisance.

You might need to catch the bus to work, but it can cost you in other ways as well. If your car isn’t recovered, you’ll have to pay your excess, and your NCD (No Claim Discount) could be reduced increasing your premiums in the future. Depending on the extent of your cover, you might not be able to claim back for all the possessions you had inside the car.

It sounds obvious, but with new technology we need to be prepared – as cars get smarter, so do the thieves. Whether it’s investing in some sturdy anti-theft hardware or buying a Faraday wallet, it’s important to take action to prevent theft if you own a keyless car.