Many drivers unaware if car contents are covered by insurance

Over a third of drivers are unaware if the contents of their car are covered by their insurance.

MoneySuperMarket analysed vehicle-related crime data released by the Office for National Statistics. The report suggests that there has been a 50% increase of theft from vehicles including electrical items over the last decade.

Thieves are also on the lookout for tools which accounted for 8% of theft claims from vehicles. This is followed by glasses or sunglasses with 6%.

Despite the levels of theft, MoneySuperMarket research shows that 12% of drivers leave valuable belongings, typically worth over £500, in their car. However, 39% of drivers don’t know if the contents of their car are covered by their insurer, potentially leaving them at risk in the event of a claim.

24% say they are likely to accidentally leave their smartphone in their cars, while 10% deliberately leave their smartphone in their cars unattended.

Over a fifth of people have had their cars broken into at least once, losing an average of £434 worth of items when they last had a break-in.

Just under two thirds (64%) claimed the cost of the damaged/stolen items on their insurance. A fifth had their claim accepted with a full pay-out. However, 15% received a partial pay-out, and 12% were rejected.

MoneySuperMarket’s top tips for protecting the contents of your car include:

  1. Try to avoid leaving valuables in your car and where possible, take all valuable items out of your car and store securely.
  2. Check your policy carefully when purchasing your car insurance, look at the level of personal possession cover included by the insurer and make sure the policy you choose is right for you. If you’re ever in doubt, you can always speak to your provider directly.
  3. Check your excess to ensure you’re able to afford to make this payment if you do need to make a claim. The excess on the contents section of your car insurance is likely to be less than the excess that applies to the main policy.
  4. If you need to claim, it could be worth checking your home insurance policy – you may find you have cover for items outside the home. Remember that you can only make one claim for each item, so if you had cover under your home insurance and your car insurance, you could not claim on both policies. 
  5. If possible, try to park your car in a safe, well-lit place. Make sure you lock your car to protect your items – almost half (49%) of thefts from cars in 2018 were from unlocked vehicles.

Dave Merrick, car insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “It’s vital to understand your car insurance, as should the worst happen, and your car is broken into with valuables stolen, it can be a nasty surprise having your insurer rejecting your claim.

“Make sure you check your current car insurance policy and speak to your provider to ensure you have all the cover you need.”

Click here for the full report.

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