As we reported in July 2022, vehicle theft numbers are only one facet by which to understand the size of the problem – and likely the least helpful! Consideration also needs to be given to:
- recovery rates
- vehicle values
This has recently been reiterated:
In 2006, the percentage of recovered stolen vehicles was 80%; as of 2021, that percentage has dropped to 28%, according to Home Office statistics.
Back in 2006, the average value of a stolen vehicle was £10,000. By 2021, this figure had doubled to £20,000.
That is to say, the chance of the police finding a valuable stolen vehicle and reuniting it with the owner has substantially reduced. In turn, more victims are turning to their insurers to address the distress, inconvenience and financial loss they have suffered. However, many are finding their claim delayed due to bureaucracy; a disconnect between the police and their insurers. Unable to assist the victim, we would expect constabularies to bend over backwards to reduce the period between crime and compensation.
Vehicle theft is rampant and brings the public into contact with the police who have little chance to shine – aside of pop the VRM (vehicle registration mark) on the PNC (police national computer) as ‘LoS’ (lost or stolen) what more can be done there and then? In some cases, the crime is ‘closed’ within the hour. Often the victim’s next call is to their insurer, a party whose interest in the vehicle has now increased dramatically; no longer the passive provider of documentation and cover, they are close to becoming the ‘owner of nothing’, of stepping into the shoes of the victim by making a substantial payment. However, often a police report is required and this is currently the weakest link in the chain – giving rise to the greatest delays.
Sadly, the latest MoU, the product of 6 years of consideration, has not made life any simpler for an insured or their insurer. The disjointed approach to vehicle crime is not helping anyone, save for vehicle thieves who, by reference to the above figures, are making more, with less risk.