10. Pick a car that’s less popular with thieves

You have to weigh up what’s important to you here. Want to splash out on a fancy new car? It’s unfortunate that this makes your car more likely to be targeted by car thieves.

Furthermore, the Met Police have recently reported that more than a third of vehicle thefts in London involve the vehicle being driven away without using a key.¹

Car thieves are using ever more sophisticated electronic hacking equipment, using the On Board Diagnostic system to programme a new electronic key, or stealing security coding remotely when the driver uses the key fob.² Certain BMWs and Mercedes-Benz cars in particular have fallen foul of this technique.³

9. Choose a safe spot to park in if you can

If you don’t have a driveway, chances are you’ll have little choice as to your overnight parking spot but it’s worth bearing in mind.

If you need to park on the street, try and pick a well-lit area that is in public view.

If you’re keeping your car in a car park, try and go for a visible space where potential thieves can be easily seen. Also try and pick car parks with the Park Mark logo, as this means they have been specially designed for good security, with sufficient lighting and CCTV cameras.⁴

V Park Mark


8. Keep your doors locked and windows closed

This one’s a no-brainer! Don’t forget to lock your car, even if you’re only popping into the shops for 2 minutes. It does not take long for a thief to steal your car.

If you’re using a remote key, check that the car is actually locked before you walk away. Some thieves are able to block the signal from your key so that the car doesn’t actually lock so be careful.⁵

7. Keep your car in a locked garage

Car thieves are likely to be opportunists. If you have a garage, keeping your car locked away can be a good way to help prevent your car being stolen. It might reduce the cost of your car insurance slightly too.

Unfortunately for those who live in cities, this is not always an option, and renting a garage can be very costly.

Got a spare £500,000? Rent this garage in Kensington, London. It costs the same as an 8-bedroom mansion in Yorkshire: goo.gl/zXfxQC

6. Keep your car keys hidden away in the house

It’s not a nice thought, but if you get burgled you don’t want to be making it easy for the thieves to grab your keys and make off with the car.

Don’t leave your car keys lying around in plain sight, or hanging near the front door; find somewhere safe to keep them – it might even reduce how often the family loses them too!

5. Don’t leave the car unattended while it’s heating up in winter

Make sure you don’t make your car a target for thieves by leaving the keys in the ignition while you defrost the windscreen in winter, then leaving the car unattended – even for just a few seconds.

As well as putting your car at risk of being stolen, doing this could also invalidate any insurance claim you need to make later.

Wrap up warm and stay with your car, or use alternative methods to defrost it.

4. Get a car alarm

A car alarm can deter thieves from stealing items left in your car, as well as helping prevent it getting stolen. Make sure it’s fitted by a professional.

Always look for security systems that are labelled ‘Thatcham approved’. Thatcham refers to the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre. They test and approve security systems, making sure they’re safe, reliable and effective in protecting your car from thieves.⁶ Find their full national listing here.

Having an alarm can also bring down the price of your car insurance slightly.⁷

3. Use a steering wheel lock

Steering wheel locks make it very difficult for thieves to drive away with your vehicle. They could be a good investment especially if you park your car on the road at night.


Steering wheel lock

2. Make sure you have an immobiliser

An immobiliser will (in most cases) stop the car from starting if it’s stolen. In other words, you can only start the car if it’s opened using the correct key – it’s not possible to hotwire the car.⁸

However, as discussed in tip number 10, some thieves are now using high-tech methods to get past this.

Factory-fitted immobilisers have been compulsory for all new cars produced since 1998, so most of you will have one already. You can consult your owner’s manual to check this.⁹

Immobilisers work by disabling at least two of the three main elements that allow your car to start. These three components are the ignition, the fuel system and the starter motor.¹⁰

1. Get a tracker installed in your car, or choose a black box insurance policy that offers a theft recovery service

Installing a vehicle tracker won’t stop your car from being stolen in the first place, but it could help you get it back if it is. You can find a list of Thatcham’s approved trackers on page 80 of this document.

You could also consider getting black box car insurance. Some of these insurers (including insurethebox) will offer to help locate your car if it is stolen, using the box in your car.

What to do if your car is stolen

  1. If you believe your car has been stolen, dial 101 and ask to be put through to your local police.
  2. Make sure you know your car’s registration number, make, model and colour.
  3. The police will provide you with a crime reference number.
  4. The police will let the DVLA know that your car has been stolen.
  5. You should then contact your car insurance company.
  6. If you successfully make a claim for the stolen car, you will need to fill out the ‘notification of sale or transfer’ V5C/3 section of your V5C registration certificate and send it to DVLA.¹¹

Got an insurethebox policy?

Your policy includes a telematics box that can work as a theft tracking device. When you reach step 5, call our claims department on 0333 103 0030.
We will check your details, note the crime reference number and start monitoring the location of your car, liaising with the police when appropriate.


Following the advice in this article does not guarantee your car will not be stolen.




[1] [2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2741416/Hackers-blamed-car-thefts-One-three-vehicles-stolen-high-tech-criminals-not-need-owner-s-keys.html
[3] [5] http://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/gone-60-seconds-high-tech-car-theft/
[4] [7] http://www.hampshire.police.uk/internet/advice-and-information/crime-prevention/safer-vehicles-cars
[6] http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/security/approved_products.html
[8] [9] [10] http://www.moneysupermarket.com/car-insurance/blog/what-is-a-factory-fitted-immobiliser-and-do-i-have-one/
[11] https://www.gov.uk/what-to-do-if-your-vehicle-has-been-stolen.