As a late winter cold snap spreads across the country and widespread frost is expected for the last days of February, drivers are being warned of the dangers of so-called ‘frosting’.
While de-icing is an unpleasant chore first thing in the morning, drivers might be tempted to start their car to warm up and head back into the house to finish getting ready while the windscreen clears.
However, some drivers are paying for this convenience by having their cars stolen by opportunistic thieves.
This month, a number of these ‘frosting’ thefts have been reported across the country, prompting local police forces including North Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Cambridgeshire to issue warnings to drivers.
But those who fall victim to frosting should also be aware that most insurers won’t pay out for vehicles stolen if the key is in the ignition. Most insurers include a clause that excludes cover for theft, attempted theft or malicious damage if the car is left unlocked and unattended, or if the keys are left in or on the vehicle.
That means you’ll receive no compensation if the car is not found, and you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket if you want to replace your car.
Rod Jones, insurance expert at uSwitch.com said: “Opportunistic thefts are all too common, and criminals may see a car with its keys in the ignition as an open invitation. While it may be tempting to leave your car running to warm up on a cold morning or while you pop into a shop or petrol station, it’s important to remember that this will invalidate your insurance policy. You should always lock your car and keep your keys with you, even if you’re leaving the car for just a few moments.”
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