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Stolen Vehicle Tracking & Insurance Approved Trackers

Stolen vehicle

The latest stolen vehicles figures for the UK show that vehicle theft is at its lowest point for almost 50 years. In 2002 there were over 300,000 thefts per year, compared to fewer than 70,000 in 2015, despite the fact there were less vehicles on the road at that time. This is a drop of over 70% in as little as 12 years. CCTV and other crime prevention measures have had an effect on this figure but various security features and technologies, employed by fleet owning companies, have had the largest effect on the reduction of vehicle theft over this period.

Although the statistics are improving, car theft remains one of the most prevalent types of crime in the country and is something that causes not just inconvenience, distress and frustration but financial loss too.

Some sources suggest that more than two thirds of vehicles which are stolen are simply never recovered. The stolen vehicle recovery rates in cars worth more than £25,000 are better. Experts believe this is because more expensive vehicles already have an anti-theft tracking device installed as standard, thereby vastly increasing the chances of being able to find them.

Which Anti Theft Tracking System Should You Use?

Modern vehicle security tracking devices combine the technologies of vehicle trackers with immobilisers to shut the vehicle's engine down remotely in the event of theft. This combination of security measures makes them the most comprehensive method of fleet protection available.

Often these types of trackers are referred to as insurance approved trackers. The tracking devices relays information via VHF (high-frequency radio waves) or GPS (microwaves) to a tracking service locating the vehicle’s location so that it can be recovered by police. The most sophisticated anti-theft and insurance approved tracking devices use both GPS and VHF to avoid ‘jamming’. The majority of insurance approved vehicle trackers don’t connect to the battery so they are hard to disable. However, for those businesses wanting an holistic GPS tracking system incorporating vehicle security there are options on the market that can be wired into the battery and used as effective fleet management systems.

Compare Thatcham Approved Trackers

Tracker RetrieveCobraTrak PlusScorpionTrack CAT 5
Thatcham DeviceCAT 7CAT 6CAT 5
Usage LevelEntryIntermediateAdvanced
Insurance Approved
Anti JammingXX
Battery LifeLong + Battery Back-upLong + Battery Back-upLong + Battery Back-up
Police SupportUKEuropeanEuropean
CoverageUK, France, Spain, Poland, Italy, Holland & LuxembourgEuropean (inc Russia & South Africa)European
GPS TrackingX
Motion SensorX
Tamper AlertX
Driver RecognitionXX
24hr Monitoring TeamXX
Warranty3 Years3 Years2 Years
Recommended By-VW, Audi, Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini etcAston Martin, Ford, Renault, Toyota, Subaru etc
Unit Price (Fully Fitted)£249.00£249.00£699.00
1st Year Subscription Costs£199.00£138.00£199.00
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Insurance Approved Trackers

A fitted GPS tracking device shows insurance companies that you’re a safe driver and indicates that you have taken extra precautions towards your vehicle security. Generally, this means that the insurance company can offer you a lower premium for your insurance.

However, in order to be eligible to benefit from a lower premium, the tracking system must be ‘insurance approved’ - reliable, good quality and a deterrent to thieves. Insurers judge this by typically asking for a Thatcham approved system before they reduce the premium.

Thatcham Approved Tracking Devices

Thatcham, an independent vehicle safety and vehicle security research company, have been leading the way in vehicle security for the past two decades, stepping into the market as experts in 1992 the company played a pivotal role in reducing car crime. As a direct result of their interventions, the number of car crimes fell by around half a million to around 100,000 per annum in a matter of years.

New vehicles are often fitted with immobilisers, alarms and anti-theft vehicle tracking devices as standard but not all systems are as effective as they should be. Understanding just how well your fleet is protected is important should you need to upgrade its features.

The Thatcham accreditation system is utilised by insurance companies as something of a template when working out insurance premiums and such. So an understanding of its grading is essential for those wishing to cut down costs and limit the risk of stolen vehicles with trackers and other high end devices.

Some of the Thatcham approved tracking device manufacturers which are accepted by insurers include Enigma, Tracker, CobraTrak and ScorpionTrack.

Thatcham Device Categories

The Thatcham device scale runs from categories 1 to 7, with 1 being high end and 7 being entry level systems:

CAT 1Electronic Alarm and ImmobiliserAlarms need to have perimeter, ignition and passenger movement detection. The alarm must also have an audible warning and a back-up battery. Immobilisers must isolate at least two operating systems or circuits and be passively set.
CAT 2Electronic ImmobiliserImmobiliser requirements are the same as CAT 1.
CAT 2-1Electronic Alarm UpgradeAlarm requirements are the same as CAT 1.
CAT 3Mechanical ImmobiliserImmobiliser must be easy to set and unset, it should isolate at least one operating system and should be either temporarily or permanently installed.
CAT 4Wheel Locking DevicesWheel Locking Devices need to be reliable and durable to resist attack. These security devices should have a secure key replacement procedure.
CAT 5Stolen Vehicle Tracking and RecoveryShould include a back-up battery, location data storage, motion alerts, driver ID, engine crank inhibition, street mapping, Bi-directional communication and provide level 1 police response through a dedicated monitoring center.
CAT 6Stolen Vehicle TrackingShould include everything from CAT 5 except for engine crank inhibition and driver ID.
CAT 7Stolen Vehicle LocationShould include everything from CAT 6 except for street mapping and motion alerts. These devices use radio frequency locating technology.

There are also Q-Class systems. These are security systems which have not been ranked, meaning they have the most basic security features, such as improved locked doors and alarm systems. These are thought to be vehicles that are not fully protected and as such are prone to theft and higher insurance premiums. Although Q-Class security systems may appear to be the cheapest option on paper, a company running any size of fleet will often find hidden expenses further down the line.

Stolen Vehicle Tracking

Anti theft vehicle tracking

Anti-theft vehicle tracking devices are near-invisible, designed to be secreted in your car without being obvious to anyone that they are present. Once in place they allow your car to be tracked wherever it goes, providing the police with the ability to recover it. Vehicle trackers use GPS technology, the same as those used in satellite navigation devices, to locate the position of a vehicle. This information is relayed in real time and is very accurate. The cost of a vehicle tracking system depends on the amount and size of vehicles to be tracked. The installation and upkeep though is relatively inexpensive.

A vehicle tracker acts as a deterrent as well as a method of recovery. This allows the police to find stolen vehicles with ease and companies to minimise their losses in various ways. Some tracking service providers have success rates of up to 95% on vehicles fitted with tracking devices, with 86% being returned within just 24 hours. Companies who opt for anti-theft tracking devices for their fleet can either opt to carry out the surveillance of all their vehicles in-house, or they can outsource it. Private customers can have the location of their vehicle tracked by a team of experts who will also monitor the system on an on-going basis too.

Hidden and Covert Vehicle Trackers

Thatcham devices are usually hidden or hardwired to the vehicle itself and are therefore not easy to locate or remove. With the miniaturisation of technology it is now possible to hide the majority of Thatcham devices either by fitting them in an engine compartment or behind a vehicle’s dashboard.

Alongside the benefit of increased vehicle security and reduced insurance premiums, companies often fit covert vehicle tracking devices in their vehicles to improve the management of their fleets by recording data that can not only lead to the successful recovery of stolen vehicles but also identify unauthorised miles and address driver performance and behaviour.

Compare Thatcham Devices

Whether you’re looking for a vehicle tracking system to avoid vehicle theft, reduce insurance premiums or more – just let us know your requirements and compare free tailor-made, no-obligation, quotes from leading Thatcham approved vehicle tracking system suppliers.

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