What is a Factory-fitted Immobiliser?

Compare cheap car insurance

Compare cheap car insurance quotes
✔ Over 110 insurance providers
✔ Get a quote in minutes
✔ Save up to £504*

Start a quote

An immobiliser is a security device fitted in vehicles to prevent the engine from starting unless the correct key or fob is used.

Its presence can indeed have a positive impact on your car insurance premiums, potentially lowering the cost.

This guide will help you determine if your car is equipped with an immobiliser and explain why this feature is beneficial for saving money on your car insurance.

What is an Immobiliser?

An immobiliser is a crucial component of your car’s security system, designed to prevent your vehicle from being stolen.

Types of Immobilisers

There are primarily two types of immobilisers:

  • Mechanical immobilisers, including steering wheel locks and gear clamps.
  • Built-in electrical immobilisers, which will be the main focus of this discussion.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

How Does a Car Immobiliser Work?

A car immobiliser is a sophisticated security feature that prevents your car from being started through hotwiring or the use of an incorrect key or key fob. The inner workings of these devices are often kept confidential to deter thieves from bypassing them.

The Immobiliser Mechanism

Essentially, if the code transmitted by the key does not align with the one stored in the car’s electronic control unit (ECU), the immobiliser springs into action.

How Does A Car Immobiliser Work

It disables several critical components of your vehicle, such as the fuel system, starter motor, and ignition. Additionally, it may activate the car’s alarm system.

Passive Operation

Modern vehicle immobilisers generally operate passively. This means they activate automatically, eliminating the need for manual engagement and reducing the risk of forgetting to turn them on.

However, this convenience can make it challenging to determine whether your car has an immobiliser, especially when diagnosing issues related to the car failing to start.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

Does an Immobiliser or Alarm Affect My Car Insurance?

Immobilisers and car alarms play a significant role in reducing the risk of your vehicle being stolen. As a result, these security features can potentially lower the cost of your car insurance.

However, the extent of the impact varies depending on your insurance provider.

What Is A Factory-Fitted Immobiliser And How Does It Impact Your Car Insurance

Pre-installed Immobilisers

Many vehicles come equipped with an immobiliser from the factory. If your car does not have one, you have the option to get an immobiliser installed.

This enhancement to your car’s security system not only offers added protection against theft but could also be favourable when assessing your insurance premiums.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

What is a Factory-Fitted Immobiliser?

A factory-fitted immobiliser is installed directly during the manufacturing process of the vehicle. These types of immobilisers are widely regarded as highly effective due to the fact that they are specifically designed for the model of your car and are properly integrated into its system.

Consult With A Mechanic

Does My Car Have an Immobiliser?

Legal Requirements

Factory-fitted immobilisers have been a legal requirement for all new cars sold in England and Wales since 1 October 1998.

Therefore, if your car was manufactured after this date, it is highly probable that it comes equipped with one. However, exceptions exist, such as for imported vehicles or if a previous owner has removed the immobiliser.

How to Verify

The most straightforward method to ascertain whether your car has a factory-fitted immobiliser is to consult your car manual or contact the manufacturer directly. The majority of car manufacturers provide contact information on their websites.

Seeking Professional Advice

Should you be unable to confirm the presence of an immobiliser through these means, consulting a mechanic can provide you with a definitive answer.

They possess the expertise to identify whether your car is equipped with this security feature.

Thatcham-Approved Immobiliser

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

What is a Thatcham Device?

Overview of Thatcham-Approved Security Systems

When searching for car insurance, you may come across references to Thatcham-approved security systems.

Thatcham Research is a renowned organisation known for certifying alarm systems, rating the security of new vehicles, and defining car insurance groups. Its certifications for alarms and immobilisers are considered an industry standard.

What Is A Thatcham Device

Finding Thatcham-Approved Devices

To identify if a security device, including factory-fitted alarms, mechanical immobilisers, and tracking systems, is Thatcham-approved, you can use the search feature on the Thatcham website.

This resource is invaluable for ensuring your vehicle’s security system meets the high standards set by Thatcham Research.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

What’s the Difference Between Thatcham Category 1 and Category 2?

Thatcham Certification Categories

Thatcham certification is divided into seven categories, with each category denoting a specific level of security offered by a device.

Generally, the lower the category number, the higher the level of security provided. Insurance companies typically focus on Categories 1 and 2 when assessing a vehicle’s security.

Category 1

Category 1 represents the pinnacle of vehicle security within the Thatcham certification system. It encompasses both an electronic alarm and an immobiliser, offering comprehensive protection against theft.

Category 2

In contrast, Category 2 certification is assigned to vehicles equipped with an electronic immobiliser but without an alarm.

Category 2-1 Upgrade

There exists an upgrade path known as Category 2-1, which allows for the installation of a Thatcham-assessed 2-1 alarm in vehicles that already possess a Category 2 immobiliser.

This upgrade elevates the vehicle’s security to Category 1 status, enhancing its protection against potential theft.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

Does My Car Have a Thatcham-Approved Alarm?

Identifying Thatcham-Approved Alarms

Thatcham-approved alarms are not standard on all vehicle models. To determine if your car is equipped with one, you should first consult your car manual.

Alternatively, reaching out directly to the manufacturer or the retailer from whom you purchased the car can provide you with this information.

Park Your Car In A Garage

Installing a Thatcham-Approved Alarm

Should you decide to enhance your vehicle’s security system, opting for a Thatcham-approved alarm is advisable.

These devices are not only likely to be more effective in protecting your car against theft, but they can also contribute to potential savings on your car insurance policy.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

Are Immobilisers Effective?

The Effectiveness of Immobilisers

Factory-fitted and Thatcham immobilisers are highly regarded for their efficiency in preventing car theft.

However, no electrical device can guarantee 100% security. Advanced criminals have developed methods to overcome modern technology, such as relay attacks for keyless car theft.

This technique amplifies the signal from your key, tricking the car into believing the key is within proximity.

Despite these challenges, immobilisers are generally considered highly effective anti-theft devices. Their efficacy is significantly enhanced when used alongside other security measures.

Are Immobilisers Effective

Recommended Additional Security Measures

To further safeguard your vehicle, consider the following precautions:

  • Parking your car in a garage or a secure, well-lit area, preferably under CCTV surveillance.
  • Avoid leaving valuables or cash in plain view inside your car.
  • Ensuring your car is properly locked when unattended.
  • Keeping car keys away from windows and front doors to prevent them from being easily spotted.
  • Using a Faraday pouch to store your key fob at home, which blocks signal interception.
  • Deactivating your key fob at night, if possible for your car model (refer to your car manual for instructions).
  • Testing your car alarm regularly to ensure it’s working correctly.
  • Investing in a steering lock, which immobilises the steering wheel until removed with a key.
  • Installing a GPS tracking device to locate your vehicle if it gets stolen.
Related:  Car audio system cover

For more detailed advice on protecting your car, especially from keyless theft, refer to guidance on how to prevent keyless car theft.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

Frequently asked questions

Modifications refer to any alterations to your car that deviate from the manufacturer’s original specifications.

Factory-fitted immobilisers are included in these original specifications. However, if you install an immobiliser yourself or purchase a car with an after-market immobiliser, it may be considered a modification by your insurance provider.

Should this be the case, you might need to consider modified car insurance. The upside is that enhancing your car’s security with an immobiliser could actually reduce your insurance premiums, making it a potentially cost-saving addition.

Yes, you can install an immobiliser in an older car if it doesn’t already have one. To potentially reduce the cost of your car insurance, ensure the immobiliser is Thatcham-approved and installed correctly.

To check if your immobiliser is functioning, insert your key into the ignition. This action sends a code from the key to the car’s electronic control unit (ECU), which contains a matching code, allowing the car to start.

If an incorrect key is used or if there’s no key, the immobiliser will prevent the engine from starting and might also activate the car alarm.

Yes, most cars come equipped with an audible car alarm as a standard feature. However, these can sometimes be overlooked due to frequent false alarms and the challenge in identifying the specific car sounding the alarm.

Silent alarm systems offer an alternative, emitting no sound but sending you an alert if someone attempts to break into your car. It’s crucial not to intervene directly in such situations; instead, contact the police and avoid any potential risk.

Consider adding GPS tracking as well. While it doesn’t prevent theft, it allows your vehicle’s location to be tracked in real-time, aiding the police in recovering it more efficiently.

If you encounter issues with locking/unlocking, your engine starting, or your keys not functioning, the solution might be as simple as replacing the battery in your key fob.

Should the problem continue, it’s advisable to contact the garage or dealership where you purchased the car. There may be deeper electrical issues at play. In such cases, consulting a mechanic is necessary.

Car insurance blog

Locking Wheel Nuts: An Essential Guide for Vehicle Security

Related:  How parking affects your premiums

Compare Cheap Impounded Car Insurance Quotes

Related:  Is it Illegal to Sleep in My Car?

Driving Licence Codes and Categories

Related:  Compare Cheap Car Insurance for Q-plate Registrations

Car Insurance Credit Checks

Related:  Compare Cheap Car Insurance for Q-plate Registrations

Car Insurance Claim Rejected?

Related:  Do I need legal cover on car insurance?

What is a Car Insurance Cover Note?

Related:  Can You Tax a Car Without Insurance?

Compare Cheap Car Insurance Quotes for Convicted Drivers

Related:  Is it Illegal to Sleep in My Car?

Classic Car MOT

Related:  Group 8 car insurance