The cost of car crime leapt 40% over the past year leaving insurers and motorists facing a £1.1bn bill, according to a study by glass replacement specialist Autoglass.
The company put the increased cost of theft from cars down to a 38% jump in the value of items taken from cars.
The average cost of theft from each vehicle leapt from £329 to £458 over the year, while the number of break-ins fell slightly.
Autoglass managing director Nigel Doggett said: "While UK motorists are waving a white flag, car crooks are making almost as much money as Britain's most profitable retailer, Tesco - and insurers are being left to count the cost."
Doggett called on insurers to counter the escalating cost of car crime by educating policyholders on the basics of car security.
The Autoglass report stated that a third of drivers admit to not doing enough to reduce chances of being a victim, and 50% of cars do not have car alarms.
An Allianz Cornhill spokeswoman: "It is important that car crime is kept high profile both with the government and policyholders."