Alarmingly ... 65,000 vehicles worth an estimated £300m were stolen and not recovered in 2011
Alarmingly ... 65,000 vehicles worth an estimated £300m were stolen and not recovered in 2011, according to Swiftcover.com. As such – based on the insurer's analysis of 3,000 of its claims - 69% of those valued from £1,000 to £10,000 were not found. This increased to 85% of those worth between £10,000 and £25,000. The recovery rate beyond the latter was better as expensive vehicles often have trackers. Recovery rates varied between manufacturers too. So, at 79.5%, Swiftcover.com's Land Rover non-recovery rate was their highest. This was followed by Audi at 79.1%, SEAT at 76%, Mercedes at 74%, and Toyota at 71%. In contrast, most Rovers and Fiats were found. It is likely a high percentage of the non-recovered were stripped for parts that were then sold, or taken abroad to new owners.
Robin Reames, Chief Claims Officer at Swiftcover.com, explained: “Our analysis suggests that an increasing number of cars worth between £10,000 and £25,000 are being stolen and shipped out of the country.” Mr Reames added: “We’ve also seen a clear distinction when it comes to stolen cars and their value. Cars worth less than £10,000 are stolen either by opportunist thieves or as a result of household burglaries whereby keys, and therefore the car, are also stolen as a means to transport any stolen items. Invariably, the cars involved in such activity are recovered. However, the more expensive or luxury cars worth up to £25,000 are being stripped for parts or shipped abroad as quickly as possible.”
Vehicles stolen from certain areas were less likely to be recovered last year too. As such Swiftcover.com said the non-recovery rate in Essex was 85%, followed by Nottinghamshire at 82%, Greater London at 80.7%, the West Midlands at 80.6%, and North Yorkshire at 78%. Furthermore, according to Home Office figures, vehicle crime was higher in London in the twelve months to December 2011 than any other part of England and Wales. These included thefts of motor vehicles, thefts from motor vehicles, aggravated vehicle taking, and interfering with motor vehicles. As such, 104,543 offences were recorded in the capital. London was followed by the South East with 52,917 incidents, 15,854 of which took place in the Thames Valley area. Third place went to the North West with 46,937 including 22,504 incidents in Greater Manchester alone. Yorkshire and the Humber region came fourth with 45,960 vehicle crimes. Most of these were in West Yorkshire. That brings us to the West Midlands - in fifth - where there were 43,862 crimes mostly toward the west.
Pleasingly, Swiftcover.com has revealed the steps motorists can take to minimise the risk:
“If you have a garage, use it and lock the doors. If you live on a street and park your car on the road, do so in a well lit area and make sure you remember to lock your doors. Do not leave anything valuable in view when leaving your car – a theft of an item could lead to the theft of the vehicle. Don’t leave your car unlocked and unattended – whether that’s to nip in to the house for something or to pay at a petrol station. Consider adding extra anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks, even if your vehicle already has an alarm. Consider fitting your vehicle with a tracker, which will increase the likelihood of recovering your vehicle if it is stolen. Keep your keys securely, preferably out of reach of would-be thieves, who have been known to burgle houses specifically to steal car keys.”
Beyond that … cross your fingers.