Imagine parking your car, sitting down for a nice breakfast at a kopitiam nearby, paying your bill, walking out of your restaurant only to discover your car has vanished! 

While this may sound a tad dramatic, it's becoming more and more common with devices and technology car thefts are using to hack into cars' signal systems.

This is particularly a problem across the bridge in Malaysia, where car theft syndicates and relay theft are very much a reality. So if you're planning a trip to Johor Bahru or other parts of Malaysia sometime soon, you'll definitely want to be vigilant.  

Just recently, a car syndicate of eight people was arrested in Malaysia for stealing at least eight luxury cars since January 2019! 

But wait, keyless car theft? Relay theft? What's that, you ask?

 

How does keyless car theft work?

Keyless car theft, also known as relay theft is when a car theft in your vicinity taps into the signal of your car key controller in order to unlock your car. 

Thefts are executed using signal jammers and frequency duplicators which make use of RFID technology. 

Here's what happens: 

1. You lock your car with your car key remote controller and start walking away. 

2. Someone within your vicinity with a signal relaying device taps into the signal of your car key remote. 

3. An accomplice standing near your car receives that relayed signal, and your car is tricked into unlocking. 

4. Once the accomplice is inside the vehicle, the same process is repeated in order to start the engine and drive off. 

5. When driving away, a GPS jammer is used to remove the possibility of tracing the car. 

These operations are rarely conducted alone, but rather through sophisticated car syndicates, with experience with these devices and with stealing cars. 

What's scary is that cars can now be stolen in less than 6 seconds! 

 

Is my car at risk for keyless car theft?

It's simple as this. If your car has a keyless entry system, it's probably at risk for keyless car theft. 

Commonly stolen cars stolen in Malaysia in 2019 included the Toyota Vellfire, Toyota Alphard and Toyota Harrier all of which are vehicles with keyless entry systems.

Not to worry, though. There are ways to reduce your chances of having your car stolen. 

 

How to prevent your car from being stolen

So the big question you're probably asking at this point: How do I avoid this from happening to my car? 

Invest in a manual lock

Using gear, steering wheel or pedal locks are a great way to deter car thefts. Not only does it make theft virtually impossible, but it deters thefts from targeting your car to begin with due to the added difficulty. 

Using a tin foil or aluminium box for car keys

Storing your keys in a metal tin as soon as you exit your vehicle is another way to safeguard against car thefts in the vicinity. The metal tin blocks out any signal from reaching your keys, cutting off the possibility of your car's system being hacked. 

 

| See also: Driving to Malaysia, do I need travel insurance, car insurance, or both?  |

 

What to do if your car is stolen

Here are the steps you need to take immediately if your car gets stolen: 

File a police report

If you discover your car has been stolen, immediately make a call to the police detailing the incident. You'll want to be as detailed as possible, including your location, amount of time your car was unattended as well as when you discovered the car was missing. 

If you happen to have noticed any strange behaviour such as someone lurking around your car, be sure to describe what the person looked like if possible. 

There are three ways to file a report. You could call 999, file a report in person at a police station, or report the theft online using e-services. 

Contact your car insurance company

Be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as the incident happens instead of only after filing a report with the police. Your insurer may clarify the next steps you'll need to take in order to apply for a successful claim, which may vary with different insurance companies.

Once a police report is made, you should follow up with them if necessary.

Protect yourself from keyless car theft with car insurance

Does car insurance cover keyless car theft?

While there's no guarantee you'll be able to avoid your car from vanishing mid-breakfast, you are able to control whether your insurer compensates you for the theft. 

Car insurance does, in fact, cover theft of your vehicle. However, this is as long as you purchase a comprehensive car insurance plan instead of a cheaper third-party insurance policy.

In all likelihood, you won't need to pay an additional premium for keyless car thefts. In fact, the old-fashioned ways of stealing cars are uncommon these days, which means most insurers are likely to include relay and keyless car theft. 

 

How to choose the best car insurance for keyless car theft

One thing to keep an eye out for when choosing a car insurance policy for keyless car theft, is the area of coverage. 

If you're planning on travelling long distance, including overseas to Malaysia and Thailand, you'll want to make sure those areas are included in your coverage. 

Also be sure to note what type of coverage you're offered when overseas.

Other questions you might want to ask include:

  • Will there be coverage for any damage or stolen parts to your car if it is found?
  • How long is the duration you need to wait before your car is deemed stolen by police?
  • How long do you have to wait before being paid out? 
  • Will car loans or other financial agreements tied to the car be compensated as well?
  • Will lost belongings in the car be compensated?
  • What documents or circumstances are needed to determine a theft has happened? 

To help you decide on the best car insurance policy for you, GoBear's online comparison tool is the best opportunity to compare what's out there in the market. You can't decide until you know what's out there, and GoBear wants to make that process easier on you. Happy comparing!

 

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Susanna Lim

Susanna Lim

Susanna is an experienced writer on topics such as personal finance, business and lifestyle. In her spare time, she's into reading and watching random documentaries.

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