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“Timely” introduction of legislation to tackle quad bike thefts

A leading rural insurance company has welcomed the “timely” introduction of new legislation aimed at preventing the theft of all terrain vehicles (ATVs).

atv parked in a rural setting

A total of 60% of all vehicle theft claims recorded at H&H Insurance Brokers (HHIB) within the past 12 months have been in relation to quad bikes, and the company is welcoming news that new legislation specifically aimed at preventing these thefts is coming into effect.

The Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act 2023 recently gained Royal Assent from the House of Commons which will force ATV manufacturers to fit a minimum standard of immobilisers and forensic marking to all new vehicles to make them harder to steal.

The Act also requires the owners’ details of the quad bikes to be logged centrally on a database so the vehicles can be tracked more easily if they are stolen.

It is set to be rolled out early next year and its timing could not have been better according to Stuart Torrance, the claims manager at HHIB, as more than 50% of claims at the company have been motor-related.

He said: “As it stands, ATVs are too easy to steal because of a lack of security features, and thefts of quad bikes are becoming even more common as it becomes more lucrative to sell them on with prices increasing.

“These crimes have a huge impact on people working in the agricultural sector who largely rely on their vehicles to complete daily tasks around the farm, especially when they have to cover large areas.

“The Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act 2023 is incredibly timely as it will undoubtedly deter the theft of ATVs as they will be less desirable to criminals as they will no longer be so easy to take and harder to sell on due to the advanced tracking of the vehicles.

“There will be an extremely positive domino effect on the insurance sector because there will be a reduction in the number of theft claims of quad bikes and farmers will be happier that their property is less under threat of being stolen.”

While the act will ensure significantly improved security measures, Stuart is warning farmers against complacency and would still recommend them to be vigilant around the farm.

He said: “While there is no doubt that the number of ATV thefts will significantly reduce, there will be instances where criminals will be able to find a way around the new security measures.

“It’s still important that vehicles are stored in a lockable garage or building with the keys removed, and security lighting, CCTV and PIR Alarms are fitted to make it even more difficult and riskier for thieves.

“Having the right insurance policy to ensure you aren’t further impacted by any theft is a must, and your broker will make sure you have the adequate level of business interruption cover and vehicle hire arrangements in place.

“The main message is not to take it for granted that your property will be safe from thieves because security measures have improved as criminals become more sophisticated by the day.”

The Equipment Theft (Protection) Act 2023 is expected to come into force in February 2024.

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