Turn on your anti-theft car tracker or risk losing insurance payout, vehicle owners warned

·3-min read
Car theft
Car theft

Car owners have been warned to turn on their anti-theft trackers or risk missing out on insurance payouts if their vehicle is stolen.

Insurers are in some cases refusing to pay out for stolen cars that have been fitted with anti-theft hardware that is not activated. Experts have warned that some dealers are letting down customers by failing to explain important features when selling vehicles.

In one case, a customer was told that his stolen Range Rover Velar, which cost £65,000, was not eligible for a payout because the tracker had not been activated.

“I was galled to be told that the activation of the tracker was something I could have done in less than a minute. The dealership is saying it was my responsibility to activate my tracker subscription,” he told The Telegraph’s Katie Morley Investigates column.

Zurich, the insurer, said: “Tracking devices play an integral role in the event of a theft, alerting you to the location of a vehicle within seconds.  However, some customers inadvertently forget to either register the tracker at the point of purchase or maintain a valid subscription.

“You can’t assume that just because you have a tracker on a vehicle that it will work in the event of a theft if you haven’t done both. For some of our customers it’s a prerequisite for insurance cover and could mean that theft claims are not paid if both aren’t in place.”

Admiral, Britain’s biggest car insurer, said it has also dealt with cases involving inactive trackers. “We have had some claims we’ve dealt with in the last year where a customer has had a tracker fitted, but the subscription wasn’t active. We deal with each one on a case by case basis and in many cases the claim has been settled in full.”

The tracker takes just minutes to turn on - Dmitri Kalvan/iStockphoto
The tracker takes just minutes to turn on - Dmitri Kalvan/iStockphoto

Make sure tracker is fully functional

Customers who do have a tracker fitted in their vehicle should make sure that it is fully functional, and that their tracker subscription is up to date, to help increase the chances of having their vehicle returned and speed up the claims process in the event of a theft.

It is increasingly common for cars to be sold with anti-theft trackers, a feature that helps lower insurance premiums. With particularly expensive vehicles, some insurers will actually insist that you have a tracker fitted before they insure it.

Although the responsibility lies with customers to make sure they are reading their insurance and car purchase paperwork thoroughly, motoring associations said that dealers needed to take greater care when selling cars to customers.

Jack Cousins, of the AA, said: “Clearly if there is something as fundamental as a security tracker then retailers must make sure they activate it before handing over the keys. That way it is crystal clear to customers and it wouldn’t take more than five minutes.

“Some sellers will go over and beyond and walk you through all the features and technology. The flipside is that others are just there to sell you a vehicle and move on to the next customer as quickly as possible.”

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