Car security and your insurance premiums

Improving your car’s security will help to lower the risk of it being damaged or stolen and it could also contribute towards getting cheaper car insurance.

Abbie Laughton-Coles
Abbie Laughton-Coles
Updated 1 July 2019  | 3 min read

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Buying security devices for your car

Before buying additional security, check with your insurer about the sort of security devices it recognises.

Even if you fit security devices that do get you car insurance savings with your provider, these savings might not outweigh what you spend on the extra security.

Key points

  • Fitting security modifications can result in lower premiums
  • Look for Thatcham-approved devices
  • Ask your insurer what security devices it gives a discount for
  • What you spend on security might not be recouped in insurance savings

But even if they just act as a deterrent to thieves, they could save you a lot of hassle and save you money on future premiums - a theft and resultant claim will show on your insurance record and affect your no-claims bonus.

When considering what to buy, look for devices approved by Thatcham - these have been tested to particular standards and are more likely to be recognised by insurers.

Not every insurer will offer a discount for security measures, but that doesn't mean they're a waste of money"

"A good alarm could deter thieves, reducing the chance of you having to make a claim and preserving your no-claims bonus”
Ryan Fulthorpe Car insurance expert

The impact of alarms and immobilisers on car insurance

Car alarms and other forms of vehicle security can lower your insurance premium, but there are other factors that impact your quote, like the cover type and your job.

As well as improving your vehicle security, consider paying annually, limiting your mileage or following any of our other tips to get cheaper car insurance.


Thatcham device classifications

Thatcham approved security devices can be anything from a car alarm to a stolen vehicle locator.

Thatcham classifies approved security devices into categories, depending on what purpose the device serves. The most common categories are listed below:

  • 1 Alarm and immobiliser
  • 2 Electronic immobiliser
  • 2.1 Alarm upgrade
  • 4 Locking wheel devices
  • 5 Stolen vehicle recovery
  • 6 Stolen vehicle tracking
  • 7 Stolen vehicle location
  • 8 OBD Electronic Port Protection Device

Car alarms

A working car alarm helps to deter thieves from stealing your car and most newer vehicles usually come fitted with an alarm or immobiliser.

If you have an older car model, it might be worth getting an alarm system fitted to protect your car.

Even if you have a modern alarm, consider upgrading to a higher-specification model. It could result in a cut in your insurance premium.


Car immobilisers

An immobiliser is an electronic device that prevents the car engine from starting unless the correct key is present, which stops your vehicle from being hot-wired.

By shutting off the fuel and ignition systems, your car will not be able to be started by anything other than its key.


Steering wheel locks

A visible steering wheel lock could help convince any potential car thieves to find an easier target.

Although the locks are not impenetrable they do add an extra level of security to your vehicle.

It's also possible to purchase gear stick and handbrake locks to act as a further deterrent.

Did you know...?

The boxes used for some telematics insurance policies can also act as a vehicle tracker

Tracking devices

A tracking device is fitted to your car and linked to a control centre.

This allows the police to find your vehicle if it's stolen.

GPS systems are able to locate your car when it's on streets within the UK, whereas VHF systems can find your car even if it's been hidden in an underground car park.

These devices can be quite expensive to fit but, if you have a telematics policy, the box that’s fitted to your car to evaluate your driving skills can also act as a tracker.

Note that some telematics policies work through mobile phone apps, though.

Locking wheel nuts

If you have alloy wheels, locking wheel nuts secure them and can stop them from being stolen.

Security etchings

Security etchings will mark your windows and windscreen with your registration number to help deter thieves from targeting your vehicle.

It can also make it easier to identify your car if it's stolen.


Other ways to keep your car safe

Whether or not you fit extra security devices, you can keep your car safe with our top security tips.

Our car insurance expert Ryan Fulthorpe says it’s all about getting the security basics right.

“It might sound obvious to make sure that your car's locked, that you hide your belongings and park in a secure area. It's surprising how many people forget.

“Simply sticking to these easy rules could help lower your chance of being a victim of theft.”

Always lock your car

It sounds simple, but locking your car makes it harder for thieves to steal it.

It's best practice to lock your car whenever you leave your vehicle, even if you're just popping into a shop quickly.

Never leave your engine running when you're not in your car.

Failure to follow these basic security rules could invalidate your insurance if you need to make a claim - as could leaving your keys in the car door.

Safe parking

Make sure your car’s parked in a safe place, whether this is on your driveway or in your garage when at home.

If this isn't possible, choose a well-lit area.

Don’t leave valuables on show

If you have to leave belongings in your car, make sure they're completely hidden.

You can do this by either hiding them under a seat, in your glove box or in the boot.

Ideally, though, take your belongings with you when you leave the vehicle.

Mark your contents

Write your vehicle registration number on equipment like sat-nav systems and stereos - it makes them easier to identify and recover if they get stolen.


How to tell what sort of security your car has

It’s been compulsory for cars sold in the UK to have factory-fitted immobilisers since October 1998.

So, if your car was made after this date, it'll have an immobiliser.

You can double-check by looking at your vehicle handbook or asking the seller before you purchase a car.

If this isn’t possible, you could always ask a mechanic to check if your car has an immobiliser or arrange for one to be fitted if it doesn’t.