A Thatcham approved security device such as a motorbike alarm or immobiliser is a rated by Thatcham Research device. Otherwise known as the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre.
Thatcham Research has been at the forefront of vehicle safety since the 1990s. It sets an industry benchmark for manufacturers. Thatcham outlines a set of guidelines for the sole purpose of improving the effectiveness and reliability of motor vehicle security devices. Thatcham approved devices are now recognised by over 30+ insurers. By having these devices fitted, it can help lower the cost of your insurance.
When it comes to buying a Thatcham device, you may have come across different Thatcham categories and it can get a little confusing. We’ve put together a short guide to help you understand the different Thatcham categories.
Catergory 1 devices must have an electronic alarm and immobiliser. A device that falls into this class are the cleverest and most complex on the market. A Thatcham Category 1 alarm will feature perimeter and ignition detection. It will also incorporate movement, glass break and/or tilt sensors. There’ll also be a siren powered by its own battery supply that will sound if your car gets broken into. Immobilisers hve to pass Thatcham Category 1 tests and have to be passively set. This means without any action from the driver, while a minimum of two operating systems or one control unit used for normal operation must be isolated.
Thatcham Category 2 is for electronic immobilisers. An electronic immobiliser means that you can only start your vehicle by the correct key or fob, rather than by hot wiring for example. Like category 1, the device must isolate at least two systems required to drive the car so that in the case of theft, the vehicle won’t start.
This category means that a vehicle was a category 2 but has had an additional or after-market alarm fitted. This often happens for people wanting to low their insurance premiums while increasing vehicle security. However, by upgrading, you can only achieve a 2/1 and not a category 1 by doing this.This retro-fitting could potentially lower vehicle insurance premiums.
Unlike the Categories above, Thatcham Category 3 immobilisation devices are mechanical, not electric. This means they are physical devices that disrupt how a car operates. Thatcham Category 3 is for mechanical immobilisers. This could be a steering wheel lock, wheel clamp or a motorbike chain lock. Any Thatcham approved device which prevents your vehicle from driving without using electricity would be Category 3. This device must be in use every time the owner wants to secure the vehicle for the insurance policy to be valid.
Most modern cars fitted with alloy wheels benefit from locking wheel nuts. These make it harder for thieves to steal your wheels. Locking wheel nuts actually count as Category 4 Thatcham devices. They have to be reliable and durable, have a secure key replacement procedure, feature a traceable product and provide resistance to attack.
The new name for the previous Thatcham Category 5, S5 systems can track the whereabouts of a stolen vehicle. In addition, it also has the ability to immobilise the car remotely by capping certain engine functions to shut down the vehicle.
Thatcham Category S7 is a new category introduced in 2019 to supersede the previous Thatcham Category 6 and Category 7 ratings. S7 is similar to S5, although immobilisation of the stolen car from a different location is not allowed.
Q class systems are non-categorised aftermarket systems. These can include aftermarket alarms and immobilisers, vehicle marking features, data recorders, vehicle ID and signalling systems, and improved door locks that are not Thatcham approved.