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Car security and insurance

Should my car have an immobiliser?

Sara Newell
Written by  Sara Newell
5 min read
Updated: 04 Mar 2024

When it comes to car security, there are a number of ways you can protect your vehicle, deter thieves and even lower your insurance premiums. This guide looks at the steps you should take.

Safeguarding your ride: the impact of car security on insurance costs

In the world of motoring, security is not just about peace of mind—it's also about the pocketbook. The presence of insurance-approved car alarms and robust security systems serves a dual purpose. Not only do they act as a formidable deterrent against thieves and vandals, but they also have the potential to significantly reduce the cost of car insurance. In an era where every penny counts, understanding how vehicle security can impact insurance premiums is essential for any car owner.

locking a car

What car security do I need?

When it comes to protecting your vehicle, the main goal is to prevent car theft or break-ins. Vehicle security should include a range of deterrents that make criminals think twice before targeting your car. This includes everything from sophisticated alarm systems to simple yet effective steering wheel locks.

Effective security systems should not only deter criminals but also be recognized by insurers. Devices that are Thatcham-approved meet the required car security standards and are often favoured by insurance companies. But it's not just about the equipment; good habits around car security are just as important.

  • Park in safe and well-lit areas to reduce the risk of theft or vandalism.

  • Always lock the vehicle, even if you're stepping away for just a moment.

  • Keep valuables out of sight to avoid tempting potential thieves.

Can having an immobiliser and car alarm reduce my car insurance?

The presence of immobilisers, car alarms, and tracking devices in your vehicle can significantly lower the risk of theft, which may lead to reduced insurance costs. However, it's important to consider the cost of installing and maintaining these security systems against the potential savings on insurance premiums. Many new vehicles come equipped with high-tech immobilisers, but for older models, an upgrade might be necessary.

Ensure that your insurer recognizes the security device you choose to install. Weighing the cost of security devices against potential premium reductions is a crucial step. Your improved security should also be more of a deterrent for criminals, which will lessen the chance of theft or damage. In turn, this will allow you to keep a clean insurance record, build your no claims bonus, and further reduce premiums in the future.

What different types of car security are there?

There's a wide array of car security options available to suit different needs and budgets:

  • Car immobilisers: Electronic devices that prevent the engine from starting without the correct key or fob.

  • Car alarms: Often pre-installed in new vehicles; older cars can be retrofitted with aftermarket systems.

  • Steering wheel locks: Visible deterrents that add an extra layer of security.

  • Tracking devices: Enable law enforcement to locate stolen cars; some also function as telematics for insurance purposes.

  • Locking wheel nuts: Designed to protect alloy wheels from being stolen.

  • Security markings: Registration numbers etched onto windows and windscreens help identify a vehicle if it's stolen.

What are Thatcham device classifications and why do they matter?

Thatcham Research is a motor insurers' automotive research centre that classifies approved security devices. Their classifications are widely recognized by insurers and can influence insurance premiums:

  • Class 1: Most secure, featuring an electronic alarm and immobiliser.

  • Class 2: Electronic immobiliser without an alarm.

  • Class 2.1: Electronic alarm upgrade for vehicles with a pre-existing immobiliser.

  • Class 3: Mechanical immobilisers such as steering wheel locks.

  • Class 4: Wheel locks and locking wheel nuts.

  • Class 5: Post-theft tracking systems with remote immobilisation capabilities.

  • Class 6: Tracker systems without remote immobilisation.

  • Class 7: A simpler version of the Class 6 tracker.

  • Q class: Miscellaneous security upgrades not falling into classes 1-7, including non-Thatcham approved locks and alarms.

What types of car alarms are available?

Car alarms come in various forms:

  • Audible alarm systems are common and may come built into new cars. They emit a loud noise when the vehicle is tampered with.

  • Silent alarm systems alert the owner via a digital message without making noise, which can be useful in certain situations.

How can I tell what security device my car has?

Cars sold in the UK after October 1998 are required to have factory-fitted immobilisers. If you're unsure what security features your car has, check the handbook or ask the seller. A mechanic can confirm the presence of security devices and fit one if necessary.

How else can I lower my insurance quotes?

Improving car security is one effective method to lower insurance premiums, but there are other strategies to consider:

  • Paying a higher excess can keep premiums down, but you’ll have to pay more in the event that you need to make a claim.

  • Building up a no-claims bonus rewards good driving records over time.

  • Paying your insurance annually and not spreading the cost via direct debit is likely to be cheaper.

  • Comparing insurers can lead to better deals and savings.

Other tips to keep your car safe

Besides installing security devices, there are simple actions you can take to protect your vehicle:

  • Lock your car every time you leave it to make it harder for thieves to gain access.

  • Don't leave valuables in plain view; either hide them or take them with you.

  • Parking in safe, secure spots, such as garages, driveways, or well-lit areas, can greatly reduce the risk of theft or damage.

Compare car insurance

Finding a cheaper quote for car insurance takes just minutes with MoneySuperMarket and will help you to find the cover you need at an affordable price. By providing details about yourself and your car, you can receive tailored quotes. Compare policies by cost, coverage, and excess to choose the best deal for you. It's important to balance cost with coverage to ensure you have adequate protection at a reasonable price.

Investing in car security can pay dividends, not only by protecting your vehicle from theft and damage but also by potentially lowering your insurance premiums. With the right security measures in place, you can drive with confidence, knowing that you've taken proactive steps to safeguard your vehicle and your wallet.

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