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Women take car insurance for a ride

12 March 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
Women are putting their cars at risk by using them as extra storage space.

According to research from women's car insurance providers, Sheilas’ Wheels, £2 billion, an average of £129 worth of personal items are being left in female drivers' cars on a daily basis.

The research showed that 60 per cent of women viewed their car as an extension of their own home, a further 85 per cent of women questioned admitted to leaving items more at home in the wardrobe, in their car on a regular basis. According to Sheilas’ Wheels, this is down to the growing 'after work' culture amongst office workers, causing women to leave a change of clothes and make-up in their car, ready for 'after work' engagements.

According to the survey, leisure activities account for the majority of items left in women’s cars, the number one culprit, at 39 per cent is books, followed closely by shoes at 35 per cent, clothes came third at 27 per cent. Although shoes came second, stereotypically, 67 per cent of women with shoes in their cars had up to four pairs.

Despite acting as temptation for thieves, stray items in cars can also pose serious dangers for the driver and passengers. According to the research by Sheilas' Wheels, 10 per cent of women drivers questioned have either had, or nearly had an accident as a result of something rolling underneath the pedals. Items such as drinks cans, hairbrushes and lipstick were cited as some of the most likely items to roll beneath the pedals.

Personal belongings can also become hazardous in the case of a collision, according to the research; more than 189,000 women have been injured in an accident due to a loose item hitting them. The survey also showed that mothers were most at risk, with 11 per cent of parents storing more than ten personal items in the car.

Warning of the dangers involved, Jacky Brown at Sheilas’ Wheels, comments: "Any personal belongings, whatever their value, that are left unattended in a car can be easy pickings for opportunistic thieves.

"To avoid a smashed window or a broken lock, we want to encourage all women to avoid using their car as a wardrobe on wheels and leaving anything strewn over the back seat, on display.

"But there isn’t just a risk of theft, female motorists seem unaware of the dangers of having personal items loose in the car whilst on the move. They could slip under the brake pedal or, in the event of an accident, become an in-car missile. As a rule, a de-cluttered car is definitely a safer car."

Although Sheilas’ Wheels advise keeping cars clear of clutter, it does include cover of up to £200 for possessions left in the car and an extra £300 for handbag cover in its comprehensive car insurance.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd