By: 31 May 2019
ABI: Motor theft claims soared in Q1 2019

Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that the number of motor theft claims paid by insurers in Q1 2019 were at their highest for any quarter since 2012, with a payment made to a car crime victim every eight minutes.

The cost of these claims rose by more than 20% on the same period last year, according to the ABI.

In the first three months of this year:

  • 16,000 claims for the theft of or from a vehicle were settled by insurers. This was up on 14,000 for the same period last year, to the highest quarterly figure since 2012. Insurers are now settling a car crime claim every eight minutes
  • The cost of theft payouts, at £108 million, was up 22% on the same period last year, and works out at more than £1.2 million paid to policyholders every day. In the last four years the overall cost of motor theft claims has doubled

The ABI also found that the cost of vehicle repairs, to both the vehicles of policyholders and those of third parties during the quarter, was £1.2 billion. This was the highest quarterly figure since the ABI started collecting this data in 2013

Higher repair bills reflect ever more sophisticated vehicle design and technology, which in most cases costs more to repair when damaged. For example, the cost of a headlamp for one popular model has risen by more than 400% from £163 for the 2012-17 model range to £840 for the most recent model.

Despite the cost pressures from increased theft and more expensive vehicle repairs, the average price paid for motor insurance currently stands at its lowest in two years, the ABI said.

Laurenz Gerger, ABI’s motor insurance policy adviser, commented: “The continued growth in car crime must be reversed. Car security has come on leaps and bounds but needs to keep pace with the ingenuity of car criminals. The rising number of theft claims being paid by insurers in part reflects the vulnerability of some cars to keyless relay theft. Action by motor manufacturers to tackle this high-tech vulnerability, allied with owners taking some simple, inexpensive precautions will help put the brakes on this unwelcome trend.”