On January 1st 2019 vehicle security experts Thatcham launched new S5 and S7 categories to simplify classification of tracking devices. But how will this affect Caravan Guard insurance customers and other caravan and motorhome owners?
Thatcham Research has been at the forefront of vehicle security since the 1990s when it introduced a security assessment (NVSA) for new vehicles that is applied to the group rating for insurance companies. Since then, they’ve been working with law enforcement agencies, the automotive industry and insurers to assess potential physical and electronic vulnerabilities, and identifying the technology and ways to mitigate theft.
The old tracking device categories
Previously, tracking devices were categorised into three Thatcham standards:
Category 5 – classed as vehicle tracking recovery devices these systems are only suitable for motor vehicles such as motorhomes. They feature a driver identification tag, which has to be present when driving your motorhome. Also, they include the ability for the Police to remotely immobilise the motorhome if stolen.
Category 6 – classed as stolen vehicle tracking devices, these generally use GPS based technology to pinpoint the location of a stolen caravan or motorhome. There is no driver ID or remote immobilisation feature. Such devices are proactive meaning they can trigger an alert to the device’s provider monitoring centre if the vehicle is moved whilst the system is set.
Category 7 – classed as vehicle tracking location systems which allow a stolen caravan to be traced to a geographic location (not as accurate as Category 6 devices). A trained finding service or specially equipped Police cars would be used to narrow down the location of the stolen caravan or motorhome.
All devices meeting the old categories will be delisted by Thatcham and tracking device manufacturers will have to resubmit to Thatcham to meet the new standards. Many have done so already at the time of writing.
For existing customers, we’ll continue to accept any device previously accepted as long it remains operational. Although if changing your caravan or motorhome, and you have an older device that doesn’t meet either the old standards or new standards, we may not permit that device to be accepted in your new caravan or motorhome.
The new tracking device categories
S5 Category – classed as vehicle tracking systems. It’s likely many devices that were Category 5 will migrate to S5 approval subject to Thatcham research centre testing. However, the S5 category removes the need for CAT 5 devices to have various functions such as remote engine immobilisation. Devices will still need to have a driver identification tag feature. We expect some previous Category 6 approved devices will add driver identification tags and resubmit themselves for S5 approval.
S7 Category – this largely combines previous Thatcham category 6 and 7 device standards into one. Subject to Thatcham re-evaluation many CAT 6 and 7 devices will become S7 approved.
Caravan Guard insurance tracking device acceptance
For some high-value caravans or motorhomes, Caravan Guard make it a requirement of cover to fit a tracking device. Many other owners fit or activate manufacturer pre-installed devices for peace of mind and to reduce their insurance premiums. We aim to make the adoption of the new Thatcham categories as simple as possible.
Touring caravan tracking devices
For new caravan customers, we’ll be accepting any S5 or S7 approved tracking devices. We will also continue to accept devices that were Thatcham Category 6 or 7 approved which have been delisted – that is providing the devices remain operational and tracked. We also will continue to accept the Outsmart The Thief Defender and Custodia Systems ApelloGEO and Club Secure systems.
Motorhome tracking devices
For new motorhome insurance customers, S7 approved devices will be acceptable on motorhomes up to £85,000 in value. The same goes for previously Category 6 approved tracking devices providing they remain operational.
Motorhomes insured above £85000 in value will need an S5 approved device, a previously CAT 5 approved device or one of several selected S7 approved devices (including the Swift Command Tracker and Auto-Trail Connect).
For more information visit our tracking device pages:
Tracking devices for caravans
Tracking devices for motorhomes
Check out a list of Thatcham approved S5 and S7 devices here
Note: All details correct at time of publication but may be subject to change.