We all know the risks of leaving anything of value in sight when we park our vehicle, yet most of us are guilty of doing precisely that at some point – indeed if not regularly – during the course of our lives.
Life can be so hectic that the very last thing you think about doing when you pull into the car park, fifteen minutes late for that urgent appointment, is to carefully pack away anything that some ill-intentioned individual may consider stealing in your absence. Even if you do manage to throw everything into the boot, there is no guarantee it will be safe.
Gadgetry, to enhance our driving experience or not, is commonplace in cars these days – satellite navigation, mobile phone, entertainment system, maybe even a laptop. True, in today’s market you could probably replace them all for less than the cost of a good night out. But what about those designer sunglasses? And that ridiculously expensive but ‘must have’ handbag – never mind what was in it. Plus the golf clubs. And the camera and camcorder you have brought on holiday with you, along with the kids’ games consoles and games.
The list is endless, depending where you are and what you are doing. Not only will the disappearance of these items be shocking and inconvenient – the cost of replacing them could be astronomical. The vehicle might need some attention too. Still, why worry. Your car will be locked, it has an alarm and since you dutifully pay your car insurance premium every month, if the worst happens, you will always be able to claim for it.
Actually, you will not. Other than the cost of repairing the damage caused to the vehicle – and in some cases not even that will be covered – most policies will not entertain a claim for the missing belongings, even if it was your most prized possession. In short, you are insured for what happens to your car, not all the stuff you squeeze into it.
If you have comprehensive insurance, a small number of policies cover audio and navigation equipment, but only if they are permanently fixed to the vehicle. Anything that can be picked up and taken away – which for most of us means just about everything – is not afforded the same protection. Certain car insurance providers offer you an option to cover your personal effects, but in the event of a claim, there will be strict criteria to satisfy and of course, your premium will be considerably higher.
Heaving everything in and out of your car every time you make a journey is about as practical as leaving it all behind. Thankfully there is a simple alternative. Most home contents insurers now provide cover for your personal effects even when they are outside of the home, which includes in your car.
Details will vary from policy to policy – read the small print – but many policies cover theft from a vehicle, providing the vehicle was locked and the items were out of sight, in a boot or glove compartment. Up to what value depends on the policy you choose and your excess but if you have something of particular value, this can be individually itemised within your policy.
Information correct on 14 May 2010
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