Thatcham Car AlarmsThatcham Certified Installer Logo

Vehicle Security – A Guide for Insurance

May VSIB rest in peaceMost people are only interested in vehicle security because their insurance company makes it part of their policy agreement. But with so many paper forgeries, mis-selling by installers and confusion amongst insurance employees it is easy to end up with the wrong product.

Thatcham Alarms with Certificates

Insurance approved car alarms are Thatcham alarms carrying the Category 1 badge. They must also have either an MESF (Mobile Electronics and Security Federation) certificate, or a Thatcham database entry, to show installation standards were met to a recognised standard.

The major problem comes from the VSIB legacy. In April 2009 VSIB (Vehicle Systems Installation Board) went into receivership 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. To add to the confusion Thatcham temporarily took the place of VSIB, authorising VSIB certificates until it launched its own TRI (Thatcham Recognised Installer) program in January 2010.

VSIB certificates issued after January 2010 are not worth the paper they are written on.

Expertly Fitted Car Alarms

Another problem comes from competing vehicle security installation companies.

Many, even large companies are capitalising on the certification confusion by claiming VSIB, MESF, or Thatcham TRI without being any of these. This is particularly visible on eBay, where it is also highly probable that the expired VSIB domain name is now kept going by an eBay seller.

Expertly fitted car alarms that are insurance compliant are either fitted by a TRI or an MESF installer.

Insurance Company Approval

The third problem comes from insurance companies themselves. Major insurers and their employees appear at the very least to be out of date when it comes to advising customers. Many still ask for their customers to find a VSIB installer, in the mistaken belief that this is still the industry standard. A good example of this misinformation is on a major insurer’s website, where it directs customers to VSIB in its ‘Tips and Advice’ section. Re-education appears to be slow.

It has also become apparent that most insurance company employees are unsure what a legitimate certificate looks like, often accepting anything that looks genuine. All previous VSIB certificates and all current MESF paper certificates are completed with an impression stamp that leaves a raised mark through all copies. A popular fraud is to get a printed stamp made up, as when stamped it looks like an entry in a car annual service book.

Vehicle security requires an active certification to provide regulation, safety and somewhere for customers to go to if there is problem. MESF and TRI are good for the industry, insurance companies and customers.

Last updated September 2011
Find your nearest TRI installer
Find your nearest MESF installer

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