The recent reports of a prominent journalist being the latest victim of a remote jamming incident caught on CCTV, once again brings this issue to motorists and insurers’ attention. Motorists should at all times physically check that their motor vehicles are locked when they leave their vehicles.
This is according to Christelle Colman, CEO of MUA Insurance Acceptances, who says that motorists who use smart keys to access their vehicles, need to be extra vigilant when walking away from their car. “Smart keys are generally used in high-end vehicles and allow the driver to keep the key fob in their pocket when locking, unlocking and even starting the vehicle. Criminals can exploit these new smart keys the same way they do through ‘traditional’ remote jamming.”
She states that consumers should take extra caution when exiting their vehicle as theft with no sign of forcible entry is often repudiated by insurers. “However, as we saw in the recent incident where the theft was caught on CCTV footage, most insurers will pay out the related insurance claim because there is video proof.”
“Whether an insurance company will pay out a claim relating to remote jamming would vary greatly between insurers and policies. However, for a claim to be successful the insurer would likely request some form of proof from the client, which is particularly tricky unless the motorist happens to park in view of a security camera and are also able to obtain the footage which supports the version of events.”
At this stage most consumers do understand how the scam works and how the criminals are interfering with the motorist’s remote signal using a third party remote which prevents the electronic central locking system from operating successfully. “The criminal then has access to the vehicle from which they steal valuable items such as cell phones, laptops and tablets leaving no visible force of entry, which is still a concern for insurance companies.”
The best advice is that all motorists must double check that their vehicle has been properly locked before walking away, says Colman.
“In addition best practice would be not to leave anything of value in the vehicle, however, if it is necessary to do so then it is important to make sure that nothing is visible and valuables are stored in a locked boot.
“For example, in the case of SUVs and station wagons, there is usually a cover that can be pulled over the boot area to hide any items left in the car. While it is more costly, it may also be advisable when looking to purchase a new car to consider extra security features such as smash and grab film on the windows.
“Most of us are guilty of pressing the remote as we walk away from our vehicle on the assumption that it will simply lock the car, without taking the time to check. However by being extra cautious one can hopefully avoid the need to claim – whether through forgetfulness or as the result of a scam,” concludes Colman.