Cold weather brings out the thieves

You would expect us as insurance brokers to remind all drivers to warm their cars and clear their windscreens before setting out. However, a word of caution is attached to this.

Every winter we see vehicles stolen because the driver has gone out early and switched on their ignition to warm their vehicle and clear the windscreen. This goes wrong when the driver goes back inside briefly leaving the vehicle unattended. Next thing they know is they step back out and the vehicle has vanished, stolen by an opportunist thief delighted to be presented with unlocked doors, engine running, key in ignition and maybe even a heated seat!

To make matters worse, most insurance companies will not pay a claim for a stolen vehicle if it is unattended and unlocked, especially if the keys are in the vehicle. And how do insurance companies define unattended? Well that very much depends upon the insurer: we have heard of a claim declined because the driver was stood at the rear of the vehicle but the engine was running and doors unlocked.

So our message is: please warm and clear your vehicle before driving but do not leave it unattended or you could find yourself left out in the cold.

Duncan Sutcliffe
Director, Sutcliffe & Co Insurance Brokers - Worcester, Worcestershire