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Keyless car theft is one of the key factors contributing to rising car insurance costs, according to new research.

The price comparison site, GoCompare, found that vehicle thefts, which have been on the rise since 2015, are one of the main reasons for increasing premiums as insurers push up prices to reflect larger claims costs.

Claims for thefts of vehicles have more than doubled in the last five years, with costs rising from £42 million in 2013 to £88 million by summer 2018, according to the Association of British Insurers.

More expensive cars are being stolen too, with the average claim for a stolen vehicle increasing from £3,500 in 2013 to more than £8,000.

Keyless car owners have been advised to store car keys in a faraday cage, which blocks the signal between the car and the fob, when they are not in use, while car manufacturers are beginning to respond with ‘sleeping key fobs’.

Neil Thomas, Director of Investigative Services at AX, said: “Unfortunately, there are gangs of criminals dotted all over the country targeting vehicles, who are able to bypass even the most modern keyless systems. These criminals often communicate and organise their operations using encrypted messaging platforms like WhatsApp, which makes it very hard for the authorities to curtail.

“However, there are devices and services available that combat theft, and solutions which improve the management and protection of vehicles can benefit drivers and businesses alike.

Private companies like AX often work closely with the police to keep pace with criminal tactics and especially when vehicles go missing and need to be reunited with their owners.”  

An AX investigation recently revealed that motor thieves are exploiting encrypted social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, to plan and execute car thefts.