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Poor key security invites theft

Dec 16, 2021

Poor key security at dealerships is contributing to an increased risk of theft of motor vehicles.

Insurers generally exclude cover for vehicle thefts that occur with the use of vehicle keys.

Car yards that take shortcuts with key security and have poor risk management practices are inviting thefts that will lead to uninsured losses. CCTV cameras alone cannot stop car thieves and all dealerships should review their procedures to ensure monitored alarms protect their business operations and they have insurer-approved key safes to minimise the risk of theft.

A Queensland car yard had five vehicles, plus the keys to another 80, stolen in a weekend heist. A locksmith quoted $17,000 to replace the stolen car keys to enable the dealership to move and sell the 80 vehicles.

An NSW Central Coast dealership had three vehicles, valued at more than $350,000, stolen after four thieves forced entry to the premises and easily accessed keys to drive the vehicles out.

These are just two examples of incidents that occur regularly. The increase in these thefts reinforces the need for all dealerships to focus on key management protocols, use only approved key safes, and install monitored electronic security to protect their assets and their customers’ assets.

Please remind all staff that keys can never be left on or in desks or counters or anywhere outside a locked key safe, unless they are working on or directly using the vehicle.

Don’t think you’re saving money by not installing key safes or monitored security. Many insurers won’t cover losses if a dealership fails to protect its assets.

Research by insurer Budget Direct has found Victoria and Queensland top the list for the most passenger and light commercial vehicles stolen across Australia in 2020, with more than 11,000 thefts in each state.

Other jurisdictions’ statistics were:

NSW: 8,498

Western Australia: 3,739

South Australia: 2,239

ACT: 963

Tasmania: 696

Northern Territory: 579

The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council confirmed that 70% of the vehicles stolen were the direct result of thieves gaining easy access to vehicle keys.

To speak to your Insurance Adviser about key security or if you need advice on how to mitigate your business risks, contact Austbrokers Comsure, a registered insurance broker and risk advisory service, on  1800 122 194.