Having your car stolen must be one of the most distressing things to have happen to you. You may be left stranded in a strange area or left without access to a car to get to work or to get the children to school.
Having your car stolen must be one of the most distressing things to have happen to you. You may be left stranded in a strange area or left without access to a car to get to work or to get the children to school. But at least you will be able to rely on the fact that your car insurance policy will cover you for your losses.
But will you?
Unfortunately, a new type of theft is occurring more and more often and it may mean your car insurance is invalidated. This will also affect your Honda motorbike insurance, should you possess this type of policy.
These days more of us own modern cars which are fitted with immobilisers and other anti-theft devices, such as alarms. This means that car thieves are finding it increasingly difficult to steal cars without first obtaining the keys. If it can be proved that you have been irresponsible with how you store your car keys and that thieves have easily obtained them, you could be left with a hefty bill and no insurance to cover you.
Recent statistics from a major insurer have shown that 90 per cent of high value cars are stolen with the keys, which in most cases have first been stolen from the home of the vehicle’s owner. Eighty-one per cent were stolen via a burglary or a car-jacking and nine per cent were stolen from places such as gym lockers or had been left in the ignition by the driver. While it may seem that homeowners have little control over whether someone targets their home to get their car keys, insurers have started to take this type of theft into account in their policy terms and conditions.
One insurer states that it will not pay for any loss which occurs when the keys have been left in the ignition on if they have been left in the car. There have also been cases where insurers have refused to pay out for an insurance claim because the make and model of the car cannot be stolen unless a key is used.
Clearly, if your car is stolen and you cannot explain how the keys came to be in the possession of the thief, then you may have trouble claiming on your insurance. For this reason it is vitally important that you read your insurance documents very carefully to see if your policy will cover for theft where the keys are used.
In the meantime, it is also important that you can show your insurer that you have done all you can to avoid your car becoming one of the many which are stolen with the keys each year. Insurance companies recommend that you take the following steps to keep your car safe:
- Always take your car keys upstairs with you when you go to bed. Burglars have been known to use devices to fish car keys through the letter box from tables in the hallway with a device similar to a fishing rod. If anyone does get inside your home they will search all of the downstairs of your house for your keys but are unlikely to come upstairs in case they get caught. If your keys were to be stolen you may find that you could make a claim on your home insurance quote.
- Avoid having too many copies of your car key. Only give a spare to someone who you trust completely or keep a spare in a very safe hiding place.
- Do not attach your car key to anything which might identify your car, such as a manufacturer’s key ring. If you lose your keys or they are stolen while you are out, the thief will have a more difficult time finding your car.
- Never start your car and then leave it running while you go back inside. It only takes a thief seconds to drive the vehicle off your driveway. Do not do this even if it takes ten minutes to defrost your windscreen. These types of thefts increase in the winter time due to this issue.
- If you can, keep your car in a locked garage as often as possible. Thieves will target expensive cars which are left on driveways. If you do not use a garage, consider collapsible bollards to keep your car in.
It is quite understandable that motor insurance companies are doing all they can to ensure people are more aware of how they look after their keys, but owners have a responsibility as well. If you don’t want to be caught out, then keep your car keys close to you at all times and avoid a run-in with your insurance company.