In the UK alone, there are hundreds of GPS tracking companies offering their services to businesses and individuals. Different tracking systems are often suited to certain types of vehicle and come with a wide array of features. However, some systems are better designed than others to ensure the security of a vehicle, and some lack the necessary countermeasures against theft.
Considering the rising rates of vehicle theft all over the UK, it’s undoubtedly better to opt for a high-end vehicle tracking system, as many run-off-the-mill GPS trackers will ultimately fail to protect your vehicle against experienced criminals.
Thatcham-approved vehicle tracking systems are engineered to meet the high-quality standards of Thatcham Research Centre, an independent non-profit organisation established by the British motor insurance industry in 1969. Also known as the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, Thatcham is at the forefront of creating and maintaining vehicle security and safety standards in the UK. In 1992, Thatcham created 7 categories for vehicle alarm and security systems, with Categories 5, 6 and 7 regulating vehicle tracking devices. However, as of 1st January 2019, these classifications were superseded by the new S5 (previously Category 5) and S7 (previously Categories 6 and 7) categories. Let’s take a detailed look at the categories and the differences between them when it comes to protecting your vehicle against theft.
Category S7 Thatcham Trackers
As the entry-level for Thatcham-approved vehicle tracking systems, Category S7 trackers are ideal for motorists who are looking for a high-quality product on a budget. In addition to effective GPS-based features such as geofence zones, real-time tracking and route history, Cat S7 trackers come with 24-hour surveillance, motion sensors and the ability to locate your vehicle anywhere in the UK and Europe. Cat S7 Thatcham trackers are intended to replace Cat 6 trackers and are considered the new standard for theft recovery systems. Insurance companies offer significant discounts for vehicles with Cat S7 tracking systems installed, as their reliability and durability make a vehicle considerably more secure and resistant to theft.
Category S5 Thatcham Trackers
Previously known as Category 5, Category S5 is the highest level of Thatcham accreditation for GPS vehicle trackers. These high-end systems are preferred for premium and luxury vehicles, as they provide enhanced protection against theft thanks to the driver recognition feature. With motion sensors, driver recognition tags and the ability for police to directly locate a vehicle in emergency situations, Cat S5 vehicle trackers offer a high level of security. Vehicles fitted with Cat S5 trackers are monitored 24/7 to ensure their safety. If the driver behind the wheel does not have a recognised driver ID tag, the system immediately detects this as theft and reports the situation to the 24/7 Monitoring Centre. The experienced teams at the monitoring centre first contact the vehicle owner to confirm if a theft has actually occurred, and alert the police if they get a confirmation. Monitoring centres are always ready to respond to an emergency situation, no matter the time of day or night it occurs.
Category S5+ Thatcham Trackers
GPS tracking companies in the UK improved upon Thatcham Category S5 by adding key theft protection (anti-key cloning) and auto-immobilisation features to Category S5+ vehicle tracking systems. These extra features make Cat S5+ trackers the pinnacle of vehicle security devices in the UK. Vehicles with keyless entry systems are being targeted by “relay theft” all over the world, and the UK is no exception. Using this technique, criminals can gain entry to brand-new vehicles in less than a minute – without an ironclad security system in place, they can drive away with your precious vehicle without breaking a sweat. This is where Cat S5+ vehicle tracking systems shine; remote immobilisation means that engine functionality will be inhibited once the vehicle has come to a complete stop, allowing the police to retrieve the vehicle with a very high recovery rate. Due to these advanced protective measures and a high chance of theft recovery, insurance companies offer better incentives for vehicles installed with a Cat S5+ tracking system.
How are Thatcham Trackers vetted and categorised?
The classifications for vehicle tracking systems are determined by the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, or more commonly known as Thatcham Research. For a product to be approved by Thatcham, it has to pass strict testing procedures and quality analysis. Thatcham conducts extensive research into how vehicle security systems can be further improved to maintain high-quality standards and guarantee the security of vehicles in the UK. Thatcham categories correspond to the protective measures that the tracker provides. The criteria for each category are broken down so that vehicle owners are informed about the safety measures as well as the recovery methods provided by their Thatcham-approved tracking system.
Insurance trackers are the latest addition to the wide range of vehicle tracking devices in the UK. They offer significant upgrades for customers who demand more out of their vehicle tracking system. Category S7, S5 and S5+ Thatcham trackers are the most advanced vehicle tracking systems on the market, and offer 24-hour monitoring, key theft protection, automatic driver recognition and a high chance of theft recovery – the theft recovery rate for Thatcham-approved vehicle tracking systems is an astonishing 96%. Thatcham-approved vehicle tracking solutions will alleviate your fears and allow you to focus on your daily tasks knowing that your vehicle is safe against intrusions and theft attempts.