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Insurer warns over recent motorhome thefts

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Comfort Insurance, which specialises in motorhome and campervan insurance, recently issued a warning to its customers after it noticed a spike in thefts of Fiat-based motorhomes in the Essex area.

It contacted customers saying it had seen an increase in thefts of Fiat-based motorhomes “due to technology available to purchase online, which overrides the manufacturer standard security”.

This referred to new technology that was apparently able to allow thieves access to a motorhome and to start the engine without being in possession of the genuine ignition keys.

All new cars have been fitted with electronic immobilisers since 1998 and it is likely – but not 100% certain – that all new motorhomes have been fitted with electronic immobilisers since 2002. However, it appears that thieves may now have a way to circumnavigate or override these factory-fitted immobilisers.

Comfort went on to warn that it had noticed a spike in thefts at the end of 2018 in areas along the A127 within the postcodes relating to Chelmsford, Colchester, Romford and Southend-on-Sea (CM, CO, RM and SS).

“If you own a Fiat motorhome in these areas please be aware of the increased theft risk,” warned Comfort. “While motorhome thefts are rare, our claims statistics have shown that Fiats are being targeted. We recommend investigating and installing deterrents and/or taking preventative measures to decrease the risk of theft.”

It recommended motorhome owners fit obvious, visible deterrents such as steering wheel locks, wheel clamps and additional door locks.

However, Fiat has pointed out that all its vehicles meet current theft prevention and deterrent legislation. “The base vehicles are fitted with a Thatcham-approved immobiliser but no alarm, this not being specified by the converter at time of order. However, as part of the vehicle conversion, additional security measures such as trackers can be specified by the customer,” said a Fiat Professional spokesman, adding that, as Fiat vehicles make up the majority of base vehicles converted by motorhome manufacturers, this spike may simply be down to the fact that Fiat-based motorhomes are more common. “It should also be noted that Fiat-based motorhomes do have the highest market share so proportionally these rates will be higher,” he said.

Comfort Insurance went on to add that it is not only Fiat-based motorhomes that are at risk. “We would also like to mention that Ford motorhomes still have the highest theft rates in the above areas, particularly including postcodes SO and BH (Southampton and Bournemouth). If you are thinking of, or have already purchased, a Ford motorhome please be aware of this increased risk and fit preventatives to the vehicle. As a result of the increased risk with Ford motorhomes and campervans, we require certain types of security when you take out or renew an insurance policy with us.”

These additional security measures, which are mandatory for Comfort customers who have a Ford-based motorhome or campervan, are Meta Trak VTS or Thatcham Approved Category 5 or 6 tracking devices.

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