Hot hatch owners run into a financial hitch

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S biggest motor insurer is refusing to insure high-performance hatchback cars against theft unless owners fit costly security devices, writes Vivien Goldsmith.

Norwich Union will turn away new customers seeking cover for 45 different 'hot hatch' models unless they pay an average of pounds 360 to fit a Vecta engine immobiliser. This cuts out the car's ignition, fuel and electrical system unless the key is in the switch.

The cars include the Ford Escort XR3, Ford Fiesta XR2, MG Metro Turbo, Rover Metro GTi and VW Golf GTi. Hot versions are three times more likely to be stolen than standard models.

The decision has been criticised by Volkswagen Audi, which is advising dealers not to fit the Vecta.

Legal & General said it was considering following the Norwich Union lead.

Commercial Union said it had no plans to require the drivers of hot hatches to fit immobilisers but, after an increase of 58 per cent in theft claims, nothing would be ruled out. Royal Insurance, Direct Line and Eagle Star have no plans to require immobilisers.

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