Car theft insurance payouts have soared by more than a fifth to their highest level in seven years, according to new data
Insurers paid a claim every eight minutes in the first three months of the year, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.
The industry body pointed to a rise in keyless car theft as being partly to blame for the 22 per cent annual rise in payouts.
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Campaigners and politicians have called on car manufacturers to improve security, particularly for keyless cars.
Separate figures from the Home Office recently revealed that vehicle thefts jumped 50 per cent over five years.
Thieves can hack into the software behind keyless locks to gain access in as little as 20 seconds.
Payouts for damage to cars also rose sharply, with insurers blaming the expensive technology used in newer cars.
In total, 16,000 claims were settled by insurers during the period, compared with 14,000 a year earlier, making it the highest quarterly figure in seven years.
Laurenz Gerger, ABI’s motor insurance policy advisor, said: “The continued growth in car crime must be reversed.
“Car security has come on leaps and bounds but needs to keep pace with the ingenuity of car criminals.”
Insurance payments for vehicle repairs hit £1.2bn in the quarter, the highest since the ABI started collecting such data in 2013.
Again this is down to more expensive parts being used in modern cars.
For example, a headlight for a Volkswagen Golf GTI now costs £840 compared to just £163 on older models.
Despite the cost pressures from increased theft and more expensive vehicle repairs, the average price paid for motor insurance is at a two-year low of £466.
The ABI said this is likely to be due to insurers passing on cost benefits from new legislation and new car purchases typically made by older, lower-risk drivers.