Most cars today are fitted with a number of safety features to keep them safe from thieves. For a while these seemed enough to deter them, with a report from Statista showing how the number of police recorded ‘theft and unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle’ offences in England and Wales had been dropping steadily since 2002/03. This was right up until 2013/14, when cases begun increasing for the first time.

So with car theft now on the up and thieves becoming smarter in their ways, security features are advancing; and there is are now an array of different solutions available. For new and young drivers this can be baffling, but thanks to an institution called Thatcham Research this has been made simpler. Thatcham Research rate the different car alarms and immobilisers by category to give buyers a better idea of the role they play. Find out more information about the Thatcham Vehicle Security Categories.

Standard security features

Old or new, there are several security features that you are likely to find in most cars. These are:


You will find an alarm system in most cars, although, in cases where a car has no such security measures it is possible to upgrade a system.

For cars with alarms already, the effectiveness will depend on the independent rating given by Thatcham Research. The highest category alarm system is ‘Thatcham Category 1’, and is the industry standard alarm system. It features perimeter and ignition detection, as well as movement, glass break and tilt sensors. When broken into, a car with a Thatcham Category 1 alarm system with sound a siren. The siren will be independently powered by a backup battery.

As mentioned above, more information about the Thatcham Vehicle Security Categories can be found here.


An immobiliser is an electronic security feature that stops the car engine from running unless the right key is present. A passively set immobiliser is required to meet Thatcham Category 1.

Additional security features

Aside from the standard features in most cars, there are a range of other security features that can offer extra peace of mind when it comes to the safety of our cars, with the better ones approved by Thatcham. These include:

Steering wheel lock

In many new cars this feature is standard within the steering wheel itself. When removing the keys, if you turn the steering wheel slightly to the left or right you will hear it click into place. Once locked into place the steering wheel is immovable. This means if someone tries to break into your car, unless they have the keys, they will be unable to drive it away.

For cars without this feature, there are many steering wheel locks available on the market. Typically under £30, a steering wheel lock is a simple lockable bar that provides a very visible sign to intruders that a theft attempt will not be easy.

Wheel clamp

These attach to the car wheel to immobilise it, and are an inexpensive and simple fit. If your car is going to be lying idle for a long time, a wheel clamp is definitely something worth considering to ward off thieves.

VIN Etching

VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, and every car has a unique 17 digit VIN assigned to it.

To step up your car’s security, you can arrange to have the VIN etched onto the windscreen and windows of your car. If someone is to break into and steal your car, the VIN number will help aid the identification and recovery of your car.

Enhanced Protection Glazing (EPG)

Enhanced Protection Glazing is a specially designed, toughened, impact-resistant safety glass that will help reduce the likelihood of ‘smash & grab’ attacks.

Dash Cam

Dash Cams are all the rage at the moment, and a great tool for exposing the growing number of crash for cash scammers. A recent post from the AA tells us how the cost of insurance fraud is currently worth £340 million a year!

If you are a new driver and looking for insurance, insure with insurethebox and reap the benefits of a black box – including the ability to locate your car if it’s stolen thanks to the theft tracker feature that’s included. Get a quote online today to find out about more of the benefits.