Car jamming remains a common crime in South Africa, and your insurance company will most likely not pay out if you are a victim.
Car jammers prevent your car from locking by using a household remote to override your car’s remote, as they both operate on the same frequency.
People are often distracted when they walk away from their vehicles, so they are unaware that their cars have not locked and their valuables are unprotected.
Even items stowed in the boot aren’t safe, because most can be opened from the inside of the car.
According to Johan van Greuning, Head of Standard Insurance Limited, authorities and the public have known about car jamming for a few years now – but the problem is increasing.
“It has become such a common occurrence that some shopping centres have installed car jamming detection technology, but even with these measures in place people still get caught,” said van Greuning.
He said it is estimated that 40 cases of car jamming and theft happen in Sandton each week.
You are most likely not insured against car jamming
While there has been debate about whether insurers should cover the losses, the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance has ruled that policyholders are responsible for losses suffered – as the onus is on them to ensure their cars are locked when they park.
Many insurance company policies specify that they will cover certain stolen items if they are locked in the boot and the car is forcibly broken into.
However, if the individual is a victim of car jamming, they are not covered by the majority of the insurers.
Car jamming safety tips
Van Greuning shared safety tactics which can reduce your odds of becoming a victim of car jamming.
- Be hyper-vigilant when parking your car. Take note of any people in the vicinity of the parking area.
- Park in well-lit, well-populated areas. If you feel uncomfortable, park elsewhere.
- Watch and hear the locks engage when you press the lock button on your remote.
- Most people carry a laptop or tablet in their vehicle, and criminals are well aware of this fact. Always back up your hard drive, make sure you have a password in place, and never openly store your banking details.
- Take expensive electronics with you when you leave your car.