Protecting a high value car is high on the agenda for anyone lucky enough to own one, and a good car alarm will be uppermost in your thoughts from the moment you take possession.
The obvious reason is to guard both the car and the inevitable valuable possessions inside, acting as both a deterrent and a response in the event of attempted theft; however a good car alarm system is very often a prerequisite to obtain car insurance for a prestigious vehicle, too.
If you aren’t sure which features to look for, let’s go through some of the basics.
To start with, there are two broad types of car alarm: passive and active alarms. Passive alarm systems switch on automatically when the ignition is switched off and all the doors are closed. Active alarms are activated by pressing a button.
Some car alarm features are essentially just time-savers and gimmicks but others you may find genuinely useful – decide what you need and what you can afford.
One of the more common features of modern alarms is the ability to act as keyless entry units – you press a button to arm or disarm the alarm and it also locks or unlocks the car doors.
One useful feature to have is an alarm which re-activates if you don’t open the car door or re-arm the system after a specified time. This can be handy if you forget that you’ve unlocked the car or press the disarm button accidentally.
Want to feel more secure when you’re in the car? Look for ignition-controlled door locks which lock the car when you turn on the ignition and unlock them when you take the keys out.
A rather excessive feature available on some car alarm systems is a button which unlocks the boot of the car for you. It’s hardly going to stop your car being stolen, but as a handy gimmick, some might like it.
Forgotten where you parked? Some systems feature a car-finder button – press this and your car emits a noise and flashing parking lights to help guide you to it. Again, this isn’t really a feature that’s going to save your car from thieves, but car owners of a forgetful nature might appreciate it.
Buying & fitting your alarm
It’s best to do some research before buying your alarm. Technology is moving forward all the time so read current reviews from experts and consumers before deciding which system to buy. Expert advice will be invaluable – visit stores that stock car alarms and listen to the staff’s opinions before buying.
Check the length of the warranty on the system you buy.
Fitting an alarm system, especially on a prestige car, is probably best left to the professionals – it can be done yourself but it’s a time-consuming business and you really need to know what you’re doing. It’s worth bearing in mind, too, that your insurance may only cover a high value vehicle if the alarm has been professionally fitted and a certificate issued to confirm this.
If in doubt, get in touch with an insurance company that specialises in prestige cars – they’ll often be able to recommend a list of insurance approved alarm systems suitable for your car.