You’re at your local shopping centre, the kids are screaming and you’re rushing to get your shopping done as quickly as possible so you hurriedly press the remote button to lock your car and run into the centre. But have you double-checked that your car is properly locked? And will your insurer pay if you are a victim of remote jamming?
Remote jamming has become increasingly common in the last few months and in fact, I saw it first hand when my car refused to lock at a Cape Town shopping centre not too long ago.
Christelle Colman, chief executive of MUA Insurance Acceptance 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, most insurers will pay out the related insurance claim where there is video proof.”
Colman says 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 you, which is particularly tricky unless you happen to park in view of a security camera and are also able to obtain the footage which supports your version of events,” she says.
Warwick Scott-Rodger, head of DialDirect, agreed with this view, saying that it is difficult to determine if someone has been a victim of remote jamming. “Each instance will have different merits when it comes to the investigation. Although not always conclusive, video footage may assist to determine if remote jamming was involved,” he says.
DialDirect will thoroughly investigate the merit of all claims made, and if the investigation proves that you have been a victim of remote jamming, and that you took all the necessary precautions to safeguard your car against theft, your claim will be handled accordingly and in line with the terms and conditions of the specific policy. Scott-Rodger cautions that you should avoid storing valuable items, house keys and important documents in your car as remote jamming is on an upward trend.
How does remote jamming work?
A criminals who is near to your vehicle uses a third-party remote that prevents your car’s electronic locking system from working. So while you think you have locked your vehicle using your remote, your car remains unlocked, because the criminal’s technology has ‘jammed’ your remote. The criminal then has access to your car from which they can steal valuable items, leaving no visible signs of forced entry.
What you can do:
- Never leave items of interest lying in full view on car seats while driving or when leaving your car parked.
- If you have to leave valuables in your vehicle, rather lock them in the boot.
- Park your car in a secure parking lot where there are lots of other vehicles and ideally, security personnel.
- When using a remote, double-check that your car has in fact been successfully
- Empty your car at the end of each day to avoid it becoming cluttered with items that you don’t want stolen.
- Never leave house keys or important papers in your car.
- Don’t leave car registration papers in your car.
- Install an alarm system on your vehicle.
- Install window safety film.
- Ensure that you have adequate insurance cover on portable possessions you carry with you on a regular basis.
- 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.