Locals are urged to remain vigilant after a surge in stolen vehicle claims across Queensland in the past financial year.
New data from RACQ shows there was a 72.1% jump in Central Queensland compared to the previous year, with 105 claims made to the insurer.
Chief Executive Insurance Trent Sayers says car theft remains a key issue in Queensland, affecting thousands of car owners each year.
“RACQ Insurance alone has seen a 10% increase in car theft claims over the past year, with Townsville, Cairns and Brisbane’s inner city experiencing the highest frequency of stolen vehicles,” Mr Sayers says.
“According to insurance claims data, one in three vehicles was stolen between 1am – 4am, and more incidents occurred on the weekend than any other day of the week.
“Unsurprisingly, our research also found more than half of Queenslanders are aware of rising car thefts in their area or nearby, and of those, 40% are very concerned about the growing risk.”
Mr Sayers encourages vehicle owners to stay alert and take precautions to protect their vehicles.
“Queenslanders must keep security in mind when parking their cars, particularly overnight,” he says.
“When possible, park your car in a locked garage or gated driveway and lock your car, even when it’s in a secure location.
“If a secure location isn’t an option, park in a well-lit populated area and remove any valuables from your vehicle to ensure thieves aren’t tempted.”
According to the data, the Toyota Hilux, Toyota Landcruiser and Toyota Corolla were the most stolen vehicles, with older aged vehicles tending to be the target for thieves.
“Older vehicles tend to be popular with thieves as many aren’t fitted with immobilisers and they are also easy to dispose of as parts or re-identify and sell,” Mr Sayers says.
“For vehicles with modern security features, accessing the keys is the most common method of theft.
“Drivers are urged to keep their keys in a hidden location within the home, well away from entry points, so that opportunistic thieves cannot easily access them.”
Mr Sayers says that while car theft was an extremely stressful ordeal for Queenslanders, there was some important information to keep in mind.
“If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a car stolen, contact your local police immediately to report the theft and then contact your insurer to check your cover and lodge the claim,” he says.
“According to our claims data, 65% of the vehicles reported as stolen were recovered before the member’s claim was settled.
“Every recovered vehicle undergoes a mechanical and safety check to determine whether the vehicle can be returned to the owner, requires further repairs or is written off, with the claim outcome being communicated to the member as soon as possible.”