Cold Weather, Running Engines and Auto Theft

Do you think it is a good idea to leave your car running when you aren’t in it? You probably answer no to this question without even thinking because it sounds pointless and risky. However, many motorists leave the keys on the vehicle or even leave it running and ready for auto thieves to take it. They think they are going to be only a minute and what could happen in that time frame. But it only takes one careless moment and you never see your automobile again.

How about on your driveway or in front of your home? Many people think that who would dare or pass in front of their home. Actually there are so many that there is a name for it “puffer thefts. It is called so because of the vapor coming out of exhaust in cold winter day.

Motorists turn their engine on earlier than they are ready to start their journey. They like to de-ice the engine before they take on the road and/or warm the seats and inside before they dare to go in. You may think you have enough reasons and who does not want a warm car in a freezing winter day. But is it worth the risk of having it stolen?

Have You Ever Left the Engine Running?

Many people would laugh at others who had their cars stolen because they left the keys on the engine. However, the statistics confirm that many people make these mistakes very often.

One out of every five stolen automobiles had keys left within and nearly half of stolen vehicles were left unlocked according to the figures published by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Furthermore a survey carried out by NICB shows that one out of every three drivers left their autos’ engine running at some stage.

Looking at these figures being a car thief seems to be the easiest job in the world. You do not even need the necessary skills to break cars and get them going. People kindly leave the keys on and some even kinder drivers warm it up for you in the winter. All you need to do is hang around the convenience stores and check the driveways for cars left running.

According to one police report about twenty cars were stolen in the region recently and only four of them have been found. There is a high chance stolen vehicles aren’t in one piece any more. There are criminal gangs who strip the automobiles and sell the parts. They will not leave a trace of your automobile within half a day of stealing it.

You would hear the police advising residence not to leave their engine running whatever the reason. According to Los Angeles times news report, a Los Angeles Police Department car was stolen by a man and crashed into a Starbucks. You would think that police would be a lot more careful with their cars considering they may carry weapons and equipment in them.

Would Auto Insurance Pay for Puffer Thefts?

First of all, owners need to have comprehensive coverage to be able to claim for theft. About seventy percent of drivers buy this coverage even though it is optional. If you have the coverage you will need to read the wording of your policy carefully.

In fact, local laws can be instrumental in your insurer’s decision. In some places you get a ticket from the police if you leave your keys in the ignition regardless of the engine running or not. These laws can encourage your insurer not to pay your claim especially if you received such ticket in the past.

Some companies do pay for the theft while others may refuse it on the grounds that you acted negligently by leaving the keys in the car or engine running. If they prove negligence on the part of the policyholder they may decide that they are not liable to compensate the loss.

How An Auto Theft Would Affect Your Insurance?

If policyholders want to keep their cheap auto insurance prices they should avoid claims. Having a vehicle theft claim will affect your rates and you will probably lose your no claim discounts, if you have any. And this will keep affecting your rates for at least three years, possibly five. So, it has short term inconveniences and long term premium costs to think about and do everything you can to keep your vehicle safe.

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