If you own a recent BMW car you may be surpised to find that it’s not actually covered should you fall victim to theft and try to make a claim.
The problem stems from the on-board computer and the associated key-fob technology which allows car thieves easy access to your vehicle.
Technology has been widely available and can be obtained on the Internet, that allows would be thieves to tap into diagnostic system of the on-board computer and clone the key technology, allowing easy access to the car.
The problem has been exacerbated by recent EU competition directives that allow non BMW garages the ability to access diagnostic systems.
West Midlands police have reported 154 thefts of BMWs with this technology in the last three months.
The Government sponsored company responsible for setting the insurance security rates Thatcham Research thatcham.org for members of the ABI reported the problem to insurance companies over nine months ago. They have refused to downgrade the 5 star security rating of the affected models as they state this would be unfair to the manufacturer.
The BBC has been leading an awareness campaign for owners of these BMWs with its consumer affairs program Watchdog and Radio 4.
Speaking on Radio 4 a Mr Gordon who is a director of Southampton Football Club said he was treated like a criminal by his car insurance company LV after he made a claim for theft. Despite having both keys in his possession and a CCTV tape he managed to secure from close by to where the car was stolen from he claimed that LV inferred that he was party to the theft. They sent out a private investigator to interview him and treated him as a suspect. It took them 9 months to finally settle claim, only paid out the minimum amount which was a lot less than the cars value and he lost his no claims discount.
When contacted BMW suggested that any concerned owner should contact their dealership and fit secondary security devices such as steering wheel crook locks.