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Am I covered by my insurance if I leave my car doors unlocked?

Lately there has been a rash of car thefts precipitated by the fact that many of these cars have been left unlocked some even with keys in the ignition. In Okotoks for instance, police have determined that between January and June, 72% of car thefts and/or break-ins involved vehicles where one or more doors were left unlocked. This is a pretty significant number especially given that it would be so easy to deter a car theft by simply locking the doors.

Am I covered by my insurance if I leave my car doors unlocked?

We’ve often been asked about insurance coverage in the event of a vehicle theft if in fact the doors were unlocked and if the keys were left somewhere in the vehicle. So are you covered? The short answer is yes as long as you have comprehensive insurance coverage.

If you only have liability and collision coverages theft and vandalism will not be covered under your car insurance policy. If you do have comprehensive coverage there will sometimes be a clause in your policy that denies a claim and prevents your insurer from having to pay out if the theft stemmed from a car being unlocked. This is more commonly found with commercial vehicles: insurers will implement a “locked vehicle warranty” endorsement which means there must be signs of forcible entry (meaning the vehicle was locked) in order for the incident to be covered.

Furthermore, if the circumstances around the theft and vandalism for a personal or commercial vehicle look suspicious or a pattern of theft and/or vandalism emerges with the doors habitually being unlocked then this could very well trigger a red flag with your insurance provider.

Preventing Car Theft: An Easy Solution

While you may just sometimes forget to lock the car door or be in too much of a hurry to stop and take the time to lock up it is extremely important that you consciously address this issue. It takes only a few seconds and this action could mean the difference between having your car stolen or having it still be there when you return.

Another thing you definitely want to do is to remove the keys from the vehicle. Leaving a key out especially in the ignition is simply inviting those with bad intentions to take off with your car. It really does make it too easy for them. Even leaving a spare key somewhere in the car can be risky as the potential for theft increases.

Leaving valuables or a wallet in the open where they can be easily spotted can also prove to be a temptation for potential criminals. Always stow such items where they will be hidden from view or better yet take them with you.

Even if the theft is covered you will have to make a claim which means you will likely have to pay a deductible and your insurance rates may increase. Protect your valuables your car and your finances by taking the time to lock your doors and follow these precautions.

If you aren’t sure exactly sure what type of coverages you have on your vehicle and whether or not theft is included it is important that you discuss the matter with your broker. They can lay out the details of your policy and walk you through the provisions.