Is your car at risk? Crime rates affect car insurance premiums

Man stands next to car looking shifty.

The reason crime rates affect car insurance is because insurance is all about risk. 

A car parked in a neighbourhood with a high car theft rate is at a higher risk of being stolen. That in turn means there is a higher chance the insurance provider will have to pay out at some point. For this reason, they will likely charge a higher premium to customers living in said area.

Car theft rates have been in the news lately, as Australia’s car theft watchdog is set to disband in September. The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council has been going for 22 years and in that time it has gathered statistics on car theft and campaigned to reduce crime rates across the country.

With the end of the taskforce in sight, some are wondering whether car theft will rise. We thought now would be a good time to look at what affects car theft rates and how they have fared in the last few years.

Stolen car numbers down with a focus on awareness

Since it was established in 1999, the NMVTRC has worked to reduce car theft in Australia. Part of the council’s work has been to run campaigns raising awareness around how thieves operate. That way Australians can avoid having their wheels stolen altogether. 

On top of this, the watchdog also produces regular reports on car theft in Australia. This includes its annual ‘Theft Watch’ report, which is released yearly. The report contains insights on car theft rates in different states and territories, motivations for theft and car models most targeted by thieves. 

NMVTRC chief executive Geoff Hughes told insuranceNEWS.com.au earlier this year that car theft numbers had fallen 60% since the council was first formed two decades ago. 

Although this reduction could be partially due to advances in technology, which leads us on to our next question.

Are modern cars harder to steal?

The simple answer is yes - modern cars are harder to steal. According to the NMVTRC, advances in security technology have made it impossible to hotwire a modern car. This, plus new anti-theft technology such as steering wheel locks, tire locks and even pedal locks play a role.

The proof seems to be in the pudding too, as car thefts seem to have mostly gone down in the past five years. That’s according to the latest Theft Watch report, which shows Australian car thefts went down between June 2020 and June 2021 (with the exception of the ACT and the NT). 

Shockingly the NMVTRC’s research shows that 7 in 10 cars are stolen using the actual car keys! To add to this the council says around half of cars are taken from homes, this includes driveways, carports and garages. In a lot of these cases the homeowner is actually present. 

The council’s ‘pop, lock, stop’ campaign aims to raise awareness about these ‘sneak thefts.’ The campaign urges Australian car owners to pop keys out of sight and lock all doors and windows to stop sneak thefts. Now that the council is to be disbanded in a month’s time though, many may be wondering what is next for car theft tracking.

More car thefts possible?

It is possible that reduced tracking could lead to more thefts, and therefore premium rises in some locations. Or perhaps modern car technology has progressed far enough to help car owners with this long standing concern. 

It’s difficult to say what happens from here, but funding for theft tracking is important. The NMVTRC made the decision to disband after the Insurance Council of Australia announced that it would be cutting funding to the taskforce in June 2021. Previously the ICA’s contribution made up 50% of the NMVTRC’s funding.

We will be sure to keep tabs on how things progress and provide an update on the ICA’s collection of car theft data in the future. In the meantime, head to Mozo’s compare car insurance page for cover options for your own precious wheels.

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