Why defrosting cars are easy pickings for winter thieves

5 minutes

Avoid leaving your keys in the ignition if you’re going to leave your car unattended this winter - cars left to defrost with the engine running are an opportunist thief's dream.

  • With frost appearing on car windscreens in the morning, make sure you have enough time to clear your windows properly before driving off
  • Some motorists make it easy for criminals by running the engine and leaving the car unattended in the driveway
  • Know the limitations of your car insurance – will you be covered if your car is stolen with the keys in the ignition?

Avoid leaving your keys in the ignition to defrost your car 

We’ve all been there. It’s a chilly winter morning, we’re running late for work, and we glance out of the bedroom window to see that our car is encrusted with twinkling, icy frost.

What to do? Friends have warned us that pouring boiling water from the kettle onto the windscreen to melt the ice is a terrible idea. The can of de-icer ran out last week and there’s been no time to replace it. And we’ve snapped one too many credit cards, trying to scrape off the frost with our numbing fingers.

In desperation, some time-pressed motorists choose to put their keys in the ignition, start the car and put the windscreen heaters on full blast. That way, by the time they’ve eaten their cornflakes and hastily headed out the door, they’ll be able to start their morning commute, frost-free.

However, with the doors unlocked, car engine running and no one around, these motorists make it extremely easy for opportunistic car thieves to steal cars in a matter of seconds. 

Welsh newspapers reported in January 2019 that several cars were stolen in a matter of minutes, after drivers had left them to defrost with the engines running.

To make matters worse, what many people are unaware of is that leaving your car keys in the ignition while the car is unattended can, in fact, invalidate your car insurance!

Although most drivers know that they should always take their keys out of the vehicle and lock it when they walk away (even for a very short time), vehicles are easily stolen when motorists:

  • Leave the car running outside their home on a cold morning
  • Pop into a shop for a matter of minutes
  • Jump out to quickly use a postal box
This winter, don’t make life easy for these opportunist car thieves – make sure you don’t leave your vehicle with the keys in it at any time. It would be awful to lose your car – and then discover that you’re not covered by your insurer. 

When it comes to defrosting your car, keep up to date with the weather forecasts and perhaps invest in some quality de-icing tools this winter. It could save you a lot of time and money!