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Seasonal stealing: Is summer a prime time for thieves? Let’s take a look

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From open windows to car loads of luggage, the summer months present a variety of opportunities for thieves…

  • Are you unknowingly leaving your car open to theft?
  • Thieves are targeting what’s in your car, not just the car itself
  • Phones, dashcams, satnavs and bags are among the most common thefts

Are thieves targeting your car?

Statista have revealed that there were over 89,400 motor vehicle thefts in England and Wales in 2020/21, but what about the theft of what’s inside your car?

Are thieves targeting what’s in your car?

Here at LV= General Insurance, we see an increase in glass claims during spring and summer compared to autumn and winter, with an average of over 30,000 car glass claims between April and September. 

These claims include car glass getting chipped, cracked, or smashed, and may suggest an increase in attempted thefts due to people leaving their cars vulnerable in tourist spots.

Are you leaving your car open to theft?

Beauty spots

Picture this; you’re taking the scenic route to Silbury Hill and you spot some horses crossing the road, so you pull over to take a photo. You leave the car door open (you’re right by it, so what does it matter?), you take a photo of your beautiful surroundings, the horses (and maybe a selfie), but when you turn back to your car, you realise you’ve been targeted by a thief. 

How many times have we pulled over with the keys still in the car, doors wide open, just to get that shot of a beautiful view? We’ve all been there, but it’s the perfect scenario for an opportune thief. So, if you decide to pull over to capture the moment, take in the view or to have a break - just remember to lock your car. 

Last summer, Wiltshire Police said "As we move into the summer months, we know that the secluded locations and large number of visitors to the many beauty spots across Wiltshire make car parks at these areas a popular target for thieves who can break into a car and steal valuables within a couple of seconds” with the local papers reporting that thieves were targeting popular places for tourists or family days out. 

Service stations

Picture this; you’ve loaded up your luggage, planned out your playlist and picked the perfect route, because you’re off on a road trip to the coast. The beautiful beaches of Cornwall are calling your name, but there’s one last stop off before you set off… petrol and picnic food. 

So, you take a look at the service stations on your route and decide which one you’ll run in to, so you (and your car) can refuel! When you get to the service station, you run in to pay for your petrol and grab some tasty treats – you’ll only be a minute. But a minute is all it takes. 

You’ve left your car, full of luggage, with your phone plugged in (the playlist, remember?) and your satnav on full display. The perfect scenario for a thief. Remember, even if you’re only running out the car, lock the doors and take your valuables with you. If it’s not possible to take your valuables with you, at least make sure they’re out of sight and your car is parked where you can see it. 

Open windows

Picture this; it’s a boiling hot day. You’ve arrived at your friend’s place for an afternoon of BBQ food and garden games. Bliss. You don’t want the car to be a sauna when you drive home, so you leave the windows half open to let in some air. Your car’s parked on your friend’s drive, so it’s safe, right? Plus, they’re only slightly open, so nobody could climb in… and there’s nothing of any value in there anyway. 

Well, ‘valuables’ mean something different to everyone. Those coins you leave in the car for supermarket trolleys (or parking when the app fails you) are still a target for thieves, and so are the kid’s toys on the backseat… and the football boots in the front. Not only that, but in some cases, thieves can unlock your car through a half open window. So, even if you’re parked on what seems like a safe road, and you don’t think there’s anything worth stealing in your car, think again. If you want to keep your car cool on a hot day, park in the shade with your windows shut or use a windshield sunshade.

What kind of items might a thief target?

There’s no rule of thumb, but some of the most common are… 

  • Mobile phone
  • Dashcam
  • Tablets
  • Chargers
  • Laptops
  • Satnav
  • Cash, coins and cards 
  • Luggage 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Handbags and wallets 
  • Wrapped presents 
  • Post 
  • Parcels 

How can you deter thieves from your car?

  • Install or set your car alarm
  • Remove everything from your car at night
  • Hide your tech, valuables, cash, cards or coins if you’re stopping off
  • Park your car where it can be seen 
  • Park under a street light if it’s dark
  • Never leave your car unlocked – even just for a second 
  • Always close your windows when you’re not in the car - even if it’s a hot day
  • Don’t leave any luggage in view when your car’s unattended, or remove it if you can
  • Never leave keys in the car when you’re not 
  • Kid’s devices – they’re great for long journeys, but don’t leave them in the car

Does car insurance cover belongings stolen from your car?

LV= Car Insurance will cover personal belongings stolen from your car up to a maximum of £300, as long as the items were kept out of sight, in the glove box or locked in the boot of your car. We’ll also cover in-car equipment such as radios and built-in satnavs. This cover comes as standard with our car insurance.

So, before you head off on your summer road trip, just remember to think twice and stay safe.