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Car Security - Is Your Insurance Company Up-To-Date?

Thatcham Recognised Installer mapWith car security it is easy to get it wrong. This is mainly caused by insurance company employees, not understanding that systems must be properly fitted to maintain their Thatcham approval. Add to this an array of confusing terms and recognised bodies, as well as misinformation from competing car alarm installation companies and the result is often a bewildered car owner.

Thatcham Alarms for Insurance

When an insurance company asks for an alarm to be fitted they generally mean a Thatcham Approved Category 1 car alarm. However these alarms must also be fitted to specific standards to maintain their Cat 1 status.

Thatcham alarms are not DIY systems. Devices are installed directly into the car wiring, and the end result needs to be safe for the vehicle and its passengers.

There is a lack of guidance from companies and this is often reflected in most insurer web sites help information. Generally the advice is very brief and often out of date, for example directing customers to get alarms ‘Professionally Fitted’ without explanation.

The only way to ensure alarm fitting standards are maintained is by making sure installers are members of a recognised body. Insurers should always guide their customers towards installers who are approved and regulated.


The Thatcham Recognised Installer TRI program was set up in 2010 by Thatcham, and is a dealer network of car alarm installers. This uses a ‘paperless’ database system for each new alarm details, which can be viewed online by insurance companies.

The Mobile Electronics & Security Federation MESF is also a dealer network of installers. MESF certificates use an impression stamp that leaves a raised mark through all copies, customers then send their copy to their insurance company for checking. MESF also provides installation courses and training for engineers.

Lastly there was also VSIB. This regulating body went into receivership in April 2009 and disappeared. This happened so quickly that authorised stamps were not recalled, and large numbers of VSIB certificates were left to flood the market place. Unfortunately some insurance companies still ask for VSIB certificates, without understanding these are now meaningless.

Car Alarm Fitting Companies

With the consumer market being squeezed there is tough competition from car alarm fitting companies. Often to reduce costs companies allow their annual memberships to expire, with some never being affiliated at all.

Genuine installers are often asked to price match a quote from a “VSIB Fitter”. This is most apparent on eBay, where this term is thrown around in abundance. There is also a strong suspicion that the expired VSIB domain name is ‘kept going’ by an eBay seller.

Without approved alarm installation there is nowhere for customers to turn to, should something go wrong. Systems are directly incorporated into a vehicle’s electronic wiring and this needs to be done by a trained engineer who is either TRI or MESF approved and regulated.

Resouce Box:

Find nearest Thatcham car alarms TRI expert from web site.

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Last updated October 2011

Website promotes the current recognised UK installer network. Car alarms should be fitted by either a Thatcham Recognised Installer or an MESF Approved Installer. © 2011