Drivers are leaving themselves open to theft and identity fraud by leaving valuables and documents on display in their cars, according to Direct Line Car Insurance.
The insurer has found that around 10 per cent of car owners in the UK leave sensitive documents, including bills and bank statements, in full view, while 12 per cent of respondents admitted to leaving valuable items worth more than £350 on display in their cars.
Direct Line spokesperson Jennifer Culley comments: "Car owners need to think twice before they lock up and walk away from their vehicles to ensure they are not leaving valuables or sensitive documents on display.
"Perhaps most worryingly of all, six per cent said they did not always remember to lock their car doors, while seven per cent do not clear their car seats. Ms Culley says: "With the rise in cases of identity fraud over recent years, motorists should avoid giving thieves further opportunities to obtain personal details which can be found on bills, bank statements and letters.
"Our advice is to avoid keeping valuables and sensitive documents in the car or take your possessions with you when you leave your car unattended."
The company found that the most likely items to be left on display in cars included work clothes (17 per cent); sports equipment (13 per cent); letters, bills and statements (10 per cent); work files (10 per cent); a mobile phone (10 per cent); an iPod/MP3 player (four per cent); and a laptop (two per cent).
Direct Line suggests drivers take various security measures to reduce the dangers of theft and identity fraud. It advises car owners to buy a removable stereo and to take it out of the vehicle when not in use. It also suggests buying a steering wheel or handbrake lock, which can be bought very cheaply, and that drivers park in places that are secure, well-lit and busy.
It advises car owners to lock doors and windows when the car is left unattended and even when the car is travelling at low speed. Finally, the car insurance firm warns car owners not to leave keys or possessions of any kind in the car.
It is also well worth making sure the vehicle is insured in the event of a break-in. Some car insurance
policies include windscreen repair services, while many offer possessions and accidental damage insurance as an optional extra.
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