Keyless crime surged last year as criminals embrace new technology to break into vehicles.
The Association for British Insurers (ABI) says insurers paid out a record £271m in theft claims in the first nine months of this year – a 32% increase on the same period last year.
Malcolm Tarling, of the ABI, said keyless car theft was the “main driver” of this increase.
Thieves undertake 'relay attacks', in which handheld electronic devices are used to amplify the signal being given off by a digital fob from within a victim's house in order to fool a car parked outside into opening its door.
Malcolm Tarling said: "The industry recognises that car criminals don't stand still. As cars become better protected, criminals see a challenge to break into them. The sector is always working out how it can keep ahead."
Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, said: "Some level of knowledge is required. Where we're seeing this is with organised crime groups. It's not so much opportunistic thefts," he said.
Richard Billyeald advised car owners to keep their keys away from the front of their houses, particularly near doors and windows, to reduce the chance of this type of theft.