When you first bought your car, the keyless entry system seemed like a great idea. It was just one less thing you had to worry about. You were far less likely to leave your car unlocked, simply because you could lock it from inside your house. Getting into your car was faster, and therefore safer. Instead of having to struggle with a frozen lock on a dark winter night in an abandoned parking lot, all you have to do is be carrying your key fob in your pocket, and you’re in your car safe and sound.
All of those benefits drain away, however, when you wake up in the middle of the night to the sounds of someone breaking into your car. They haven’t smashed a window or used a bump key to open the door. In fact, after you go back to your car after you’ve chased them away, you don’t see any signs of forced entry at all. So how are they getting into your car?
Though electronic systems have added a lot of security and utility to vehicles, there is a giant loophole that may be impossible to close and which could make your car uninsurable.
Car thieves are breaking into these technologically advanced cars with a device that costs less than one hundred US dollars.
It all starts with the fact that keyless entry and ignition systems send out a signal, looking for that car’s key. Usually, the door will only open and the car will only turn on if the key is inside of ten, five, or even three feet—essentially, only if the person who actually has the key in their pocket is standing next to or is inside the car.
Thieves are using an amplification device that extends the range of that signal so that it can find a key even fifty feet away-inside your home, for example. Once the car finds the key, it opens, allowing the thief to take whatever they can find in your car or even to steal the car.
Despite the fact that this is a known problem in the car manufacturing and insuring industries, and has been since the implementation of keyless entry and ignition, there have been very few measures taken in order to prevent car thieves from using the inexpensive amplification device in order to break into cars. The only real solution is has not yet been implemented, leaving car owners vulnerable. This solution is a chip that senses the physical distance of the keys from the car.
As this technology becomes more and more popular, more and more car owners are going to experience just how easy it is for thieves to get into their vehicles and how difficult it is going to be to get insurance that will cover that vehicle.
In the UK, having one of these vulnerable systems could actually keep an insurance company from insuring your vehicle. Some UK companies are refusing to insure vehicles that are parked on the street and have these systems, while other companies have even more stringent guidelines.
Insurance companies are making these rules simply because these cars are becoming a very popular target for thieves. The inexpensive device that makes it fast, silent, and easy to get into any car with one of these systems means that an insurance company is much more likely to have to pay a claim from an owner of a car with keyless entry. The more likely an insurance company is to have to pay a claim, the less likely they are to actually want to insure that car.
Range Rovers are being hit especially hard. Reports have streamed in over the last few months that owners of Range Rovers in London have been denied coverage because of their keyless entry systems, or that they have been asked to take ridiculous measures in order to obtain insurance. Some owners have been asked to find a more secure place to park their vehicles, while others have been forced to install expensive security devices, in order to counteract the increased likelihood that these vehicles are going to be broken in to and stolen.
What About Insurance in USA?
Luckily in America, insurance companies are not currently denying full coverage applications for cars that have a potentially exploitable key system. However, this could change at any moment. Just another reason why it’s always it’s a good idea find out how much will cost you to insure a car you are considering buying before you actually purchase it. Insurance might cost more than you can afford, or it might not be insurable at all.
#NewsMom JulieWattsTV – “Key Fob Hacks – Crooks Breaking Into Cars Without Breaking Anything”