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Thatcham Device Guide: Categories, Benefits & Recommendations

Thatcham Device Guide: Categories, Benefits & Recommendations

Thatcham devices are a popular choice for vehicle tracking and immobilisation, and are key to vehicle safety. For those looking to protect and track their vehicles, Thatcham is a go-to. But what Thatcham devices are there and why are they a trusted choice? Let's explore.

What Is A Thatcham Device?

Thatcham devices are vehicle security devices that have been assessed by Thatcham Research. Thatcham-approved devices can be car trackers, alarms or immobilisers.

What Is A Thatcham-Approved Tracking Device?

A Thatcham-approved tracking device is a vehicle tracker that has attained a Thatcham Security Certification. All tracking devices undergo clear and comprehensive safety testing by Thatcham Research to test their effectiveness and safety for use. Testing covers functionality, design and performance of the tracking device.

Recommended Thatcham Trackers

At ineedatracker.com®, we only offer Thatcham-approved vehicle and car trackers. While finding the right tracker for your needs will depend on your choice of vehicle and what features are beneficial to you, there are a few Thatcham trackers we would recommend:

  1. ScorpionTrack S7 ALS
  2. SmarTrack S5 D-iD 
  3. SmarTrack iMOB

The ScorpionTrack S7 ALS is a good example of a Thatcham Category S7 certified tracker, which supersedes the Thatcham Category 6. This category focuses on tracking, security and vehicle recovery in the case of theft.

SmarTrack S5 D-iD is a very popular tracker that meets the category S5 standard. It has been designed to work with mobile phones, instead of a fob, as the authorised driver identifier, allowing you to monitor and secure your vehicle with ease. 

The SmarTrack iMOB is a newer entrant to the market, filling a gap where legacy trackers are not compatible with hybrid and fully electric cars. It works with a wide range of electric powered cars, helping to prevent theft in the first place with its ‘no tag, no start’ immobilisation capability. It is part of an unofficial S5 Plus designation of Thatcham trackers; trackers with built in engine immobilisation, that has been widely adopted by the industry. 

What Is A Thatcham Approved Immobiliser?

A Thatcham-approved immobiliser is a device that has met the strict safety and performance criteria of Thatcham Research. Many Thatcham devices are trackers with immobilisers, but some are also strictly immobilisers. 

Recommended Thatcham Immobilisers

We recommend the Category 2 Thatcham-approved immobiliser: Sterling Excel

What Is Thatcham Research And Is It Trusted?

Thatcham Research is a ‘not for profit’ insurer-funded research centre. It is an independent company with over 50 years’ experience evaluating car safety and security. It is trusted not just for its well-established position but also due to its robust verification programme for the assessment and recognition of automotive security products. This standardised testing is why it is recognised by the insurance industry.

What Are The Benefits Of Thatcham Research?

Thatcham Research helps to maintain the safety standards of vehicles and reduce the cost of motor insurance claims. 

Without Thatcham Research the market would be very fragmented. Products sold as security systems, that can help in the fight against car crime, could not be relied upon to be effective. 

Without Thatcham Research and their testing programme, all consumers have to rely on is marketing materials, as produced by the manufacturers themselves. These unsubstantiated claims could cause an immense amount of confusion amongst consumers.

If there were thousands of untested security products on the market, it would also be impossible for the insurance industry to verify a level of effectiveness for each one. Underwriters would therefore be unable to quantify any reduction in the level of risk a policyholder would benefit from as a result of installing any such products. The knock on effect of this would be higher premiums for vehicle insurance.

What are the Thatcham categories?

  • Category 1 - a Thatcham Category 1 device includes both an immobiliser and an alarm
  • Category 2 - a Thatcham Category 2 device is just an immobiliser
  • Category 3 - a Thatcham Category 3 device is a mechanical immobiliser
  • Category 4 – a Thatcham Category 4 device is a wheel locking device
  • Category S5 – a Thatcham Category 5 device is a post theft tracking device with driver identification
  • Category 6 – a Thatcham Category 6 device is a tracking device - it has been superseded by Category S7
  • Category S7 – a Thatcham Category 7 device is a tracker with recovery features

Thatcham Device FAQs

Does A Thatcham Alarm Reduce Insurance?

In theory, a Thatcham alarm could reduce your insurance premium. Although the insurers have not officially advised that installation will lower premiums, customers frequently report that their insurance company offers preferential cover if they have installed a CAT 2, S7 or S5 security device into their car.

Does My Car Have A Thatcham Alarm Or Immobiliser?

The dealer or manufacturer of your vehicle will be able to tell you if you have a Thatcham device installed. They will also be able to tell you which Thatcham tracker, alarm and/or immobiliser you have on your car.

Typically, you can expect to have an immobiliser factory-fitted in your vehicle if it was manufactured after October 1998. Any vehicle made before then would require you to check with the manufacturer or the owner's manual.

Do All Cars Come With Thatcham?

Car companies will often fit as standard a Thatcham Category 2 immobiliser or a Category 1 alarm in most new cars built for UK sale. For privately imported models or older cars, Thatcham-approved security is not a requirement or standard, therefore you would need to check at the point of sale. A Thatcham device can be fitted after purchase. 

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