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Theft of Vehicles That Are Unlocked or Have Keys Left Inside

What’s the problem?
 
The problem is that most motor insurance policies now exclude cover for theft if the vehicle is left unlocked and unattended or if the keys are left in or on the vehicle. This scenario would apply to both privately owned vehicles but also Employers need to make absolutely sure that any company car vehicle user is aware of the situation and complies with it. It would be highly expensive for the business if a vehicle is stolen and the insurer refuses to pay out. This can be further compounded when you consider the value of items in the vehicle. Does your motor fleet handbook contain guidance on this matter?
 
Policyholders are sometimes unclear over the wording and often claim that insurers have applied the exclusion unfairly. The main areas of disputes are:
 
  • The vehicle is unattended when it is left momentarily but is still in the driver’s sight. This can apply on deliveries etc,
  • It is unattended on garage forecourts whilst paying for fuel,
  • Keys are left in the lock whilst gates etc, are being opened,
  • Vehicles are being warmed up unattended in cold weather
  • Someone rushes back into the house or business premises because something has been forgotten leaving vehicle unlocked
 
It is impossible to prejudge the situation regarding acceptance of a claim but insurers would take into account:
  • Where the car was at the time of the incident
  • Whether the driver was in a position to deter the theft or make the theft unlikely
  • Whether the driver was recklessly disregarding the risk of theft
  • Any mitigating factors that caused the driver to leave the car and keys
 
What to do next? 
 
Our advice is simple; never leave your keys on, around or inside your vehicle whilst it is unattended. If you would like to talk to an expert for more information about your insurance programme, or to discuss any other risk or insurance need, please give us a call.
 
Call 01789 761660 
 
Web: www.pi-propertyinsurance.co.uk

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