Johannesburg - It would seem that the problem of 'remote jamming', where criminals use other remotes to prevent you from locking your vehicle with your key fob, is not going to go away any time soon, and the emphasis has switched from flat denials of responsibility by both manufacturers and insurers to a dialogue with car owners on how to deal with the problem.
Since the vehicle is now - unknown to the driver - unlocked, the jammers can now gain access while you're away and steal either the contents or the vehicle itself.
With no signs of forced entry, it's very tricky to claim these losses from insurance, and the responsibility is ultimately with car owners to ensure that their vehicles are properly secured. Insurance companies are also cautioning motorists to avoid storing valuable items, house keys and important documents in their cars.
According to Dial Direct spokesman John October, his company will investigate such claims and, should the investigation show the customer has been a victim of remote jamming, and that they took all the necessary precautions to safeguard their car against theft, the claim will be handled accordingly.
But the only way to prevent your valuables from being stolen out of your car is to personally check that its doors are actually locked before walking away and to avoid leaving valuables in your car.
"Of course, it isn't always possible to avoid carrying valuable items in our cars," October conceded, "but we can take care to only carry what is necessary, keep it hidden from view and remember to remove it on arrival."
He concluded with this advice:
Never leave items of interest lying in full view on car seats while driving or when leaving your car parked.
Park your car in a secure car park where there are lots of other vehicles and ideally, security personnel.
Lock your car when driving and when leaving it parked. When using a remote, physically double-check that your car has in fact been successfully locked.
Empty your car at the end of each day to avoid it becoming cluttered with items that you don't want stolen.
Never leave house keys or important papers in your car.
Don't leave the car's registration papers in it.
Install an alarm system in your car.
Install window safety film.
Ensure that you have adequate insurance cover on portable possessions you carry with you on a regular basis.