The insurance industry backs new technology that helps police recover stolen vehicles even as they are shipped overseas.

In recent years, telematics tracking has significantly improved the ability of police to find and recover stolen vehicles. For the auto insurance industry, this is a welcome improvement. But today’s increasingly sophisticated theft trade threatens to undermine this success, as coordinated rings of thieves ship stolen vehicles overseas and out of reach.

Finally, advances in telematics technology have come to the rescue. Next-generation vehicle tracking systems give police the ability to track stolen vehicles on a global scale. With stolen vehicle recovery once again in reach, the insurance industry is making moves to back this exciting, and affordable, new technology. 

For less than the cost to replace a broken windshield, Sigfox-enabled vehicle trackers keep tabs on stolen cars even as they are shipped overseas. 


Traditional vehicle tracking systems rely on traditional cellular networks (GSM) to transmit their signals. Back when most cars were stolen by independent thieves with a few hotwiring skills and a little luck, this worked out just fine. Tracking signals were usually able to help police stay on the trail of stolen vehicles.

But as new cars become harder to steal, auto theft has moved into the realm of sophisticated, professional networks. Within hours of being stolen, a car is usually transferred to a shipping container bound overseas. And herein lies the problem.

GSM tracking signals don’t penetrate steel shipping containers that well, and they most certainly don’t extend out onto the open ocean. Once a vehicle is hidden on a shipping container, the signal goes cold. For the auto insurance industry, the implications of this cat-and-mouse game are undeniable: transcontinental auto theft reduces the rate of vehicle recovery and increases insurance costs.

Thankfully, next-generation tracking telematics solves this problem. Instead of depending on the strength of traditional cellular networks, next-gen tracking devices transmit their signals over Sigfox’s global IoT network, designed specifically to power smart devices on the Internet of Things. Unlike traditional solutions, these new signals penetrate steel containers with ease. And, in the event that thieves do manage to ship a container before police arrive, tracking signals remain strong all the way from port to port, so police can keep tabs on a stolen vehicle wherever in the world it travels.

Global auto theft costs the insurance industry millions of dollars in claims costs each year. As the industry adapts to a changing world, next generation tracking systems may be just the tool it needs to tip the scales.