In a five-part campaign titled 'The Burning Issue', the Central Western Daily is exploring the troubling volume of car thefts and fires in our city, and seeking answers and solutions from those in power. This is the third story in the series, examining the economic impact ...
The spate of car fires and thefts across Orange is set to hit motorists with the possibility of increased insurance premiums.
Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller said insurance companies are monitoring the situation in Orange.
"We're pretty aware of the issue in Orange. Theft of motor vehicles is one of the many factors that go into the price of the premium," he said.
"Insurers will be watching the situation and assessing whether they may need to adjust their premiums."
Mr Fuller said insurers monitored the number of claims and crime statistics.
He said so far the fires had little impact on premiums as many of the victims were either not insured or only had third party insurance.
But he said the number of incidents was now making insurers take notice.
Mr Fuller said premiums varied across Orange with the cost to motorists worked out according to, not just the local area or street, but to their individual address.
The insurance companies' concern comes as Orange City Council revealed the fires have cost it $700 this year to remove 10 burnt-out wrecks.
Spokesman Nick Redmond said council had to pay a towing company $70 each time to take the wrecks away as council did not have a low-loader.
An NRMA Insurance spokeswoman said car theft claims rose last summer in Orange but she said it was not the only factor in determining whether it would increase premiums.
Insurers will be watching the situation and assessing whether they may need to adjust their premiums.Campbell Fuller, Insurance Council of Australia
"We received less than 30 claims for car theft in Orange in 2018 with car theft claims spiking around the summer months, December to February," she said.
"When determining car insurance premiums, we take many different factors into account.
"We use more than the crime risk rating of an area such as make and model of a vehicle, value of the vehicle, the driver's age and more, so an increase in risk for car theft claims won't significantly impact a customer's premium."
The spokeswoman said motorists needed to be more aware of locking their car and keeping their keys in a safe place at home.
"Increasingly, homes are being burgled to gain access to car keys, so make sure you have sufficient home security and don't leave your car keys lying around," she said.
MAP: Some of the car fires in Orange in 2019 ...
"Car thieves are often opportunists who find deliberate targets. Leaving windows open or doors unlocked can make cars an easy target.
"Thieves are more likely to target older car makes and models that are parked with limited car security measures. It only takes a few minutes for burglars to spot an opportunity, so it's important to ensure your car is safe and secure."
She said motorists should try to park in a busy, well lit area and make sure their car is locked.
"Don't leave valuables on display. If you have to keep items in the car, the boot is the safest place, not under the seats or in the glove box," she said.
Increasingly, homes are being burgled to gain access to car keys.NRMA Insurance spokeswoman
A spokeswoman for the Suncorp Group, which owns several insurance companies, including AAMI and Shannons, said they only had "anecdotal feedback" on the Orange car fires.
However, she said car insurance premiums would increase where there was a "sustained trend" of crime.
"Living in an [area] that has high levels of crime doesn't necessarily mean a car insurance premium will automatically be higher," she said.
"Generally premiums would only be increased if there was a sustained trend supported by claims data.
"Car insurance premiums are calculated on a variety of factors including the type of car being insured and the estimated cost of repairs, the nominated driver, excess selected and the individual street address."
Apart from insurance and council costs the car fires are also creating a burden on police resources to respond to the crimes and investigate them.
Last week's Central West Police District Community Safety Precinct Committee meeting in Orange was told police are now seizing all burnt-out vehicles for forensic examination.
Crime manager Detective Inspector Bruce Grassick said a range of police from Orange and Bathurst were involved in the investigation.
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