Car theft at all-time high

Car theft is at an all-time high and remains a big problem, with keyless models the easiest to steal. Between 2021-2022, thefts have increased by 59% and are expected to be even higher by the end of 2023. Many car brands have seen peaks in thefts according to new data from LV= General Insurance (LV= GI) and with the winter months and darker evenings upon us, crime also doubles. 

According to the insurers claims data1 for theft of cars between September 2021-2023, Lexus tops the charts with thefts rising by 513%, followed by Toyota (103%), Hyundai (81%) and Kia (76%). Models most commonly targeted include the Tucson, which made up 45% of Hyundai thefts, the Sportage, which made up 45% of KIA thefts and the RX (54%) and NX (21%) models, which account for the most Lexus thefts so far in 2023. The RAV-4 made up 47% of Toyota thefts, and if overall thefts continue at the same rate so far this year, 2023 is projected to be 28% higher than 2022.

One of the problems surrounding keyless cars is the ability for thieves to buy devices easily online, which enables them to steal a car in a matter of seconds by either starting the engine without keys, coding, or breaking in. The recent uplift in theft is down to a relatively inexpensive device, which is plugged into the back of a car’s headlights and will unlock and start the car in seconds.

In addition to the rise, the top hit list areas according to LV= are: 

  • Birmingham
  • London
  • Sheffield
  • Manchester
  • Liverpool
  • Romford
  • Stockport
  • Chelmsford
  • Coventry 

Martin Milliner, Claims Director at LV= General Insurance, comments: “We’re certainly seeing an increase in car thefts and high value spare parts such as catalytic converters, laser headlights and even steering wheels that organised gangs of thieves find very lucrative. This is being fuelled by the high-tech nature and cost of these components and a general shortage of car parts because of global supply chain disruption.

“Some second-hand cars are highly desirable, being on average over 30% more expensive than they were two years ago and used by criminals as currency. We’re seeing all types of vehicles stolen and keyless cars remain a challenge. The technology of keyless cars continues to improve as more cars are produced but unfortunately it doesn’t take long for thieves to work out a way to steal them and advance their own tactics, such as signals to unlock cars via a feed into sensors behind headlights.”

Tips from LV= on the best way to keep your car secure:

  • Purchase a faraday pouch - lined with a conductive fabric mesh to stop the signal and keep well away from your vehicle.
  • Make sure your car is locked, check for obvious signs, such as lights flashing, beeping or mirrors folding in.
  • Invest in a steering wheel lock or wheel clamp as they require noisy drills or saws to cut through so may deter thieves.
  • Check your locking settings for single and double locking. Single locked means that if you smashed the window you could manually open the car by reaching in and pulling the handle from the inside. Some key fobs require a second pressing of the locking button to enable all security features.
  • Consider driveway parking posts (fold down bollards) which are a cheap but efficient way of deterring would-be thieves.
  • Install a tracker system in your vehicle, such as a Thatcham approved device, for an extra layer of security. This will help the police recover and return the car more easily.

Notes to editors

For further information please contact:

Natasha Gibbs, [email protected], 07443 237651

1LV= General Insurance motor claims data

About Liverpool Victoria General Insurance

  • LV= General Insurance provides car, home, pet, travel, landlord, breakdown and home emergency insurance to around 6.5 million customers in the UK.
  • We’re the UK’s third largest personal lines insurer with just over £2 billion in annual premium in income.
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Press Contacts List

Natasha Gibbs
External Communications Manager
Allianz & LV= General Insurance
07443 237651