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Ladies - Take your goods out of your car - 1st For Women

1st for Women Insurance is cautioning ladies to avoid storing valuable items, house keys and important documents in their cars as theft out of motor vehicles is on an upward trend.

The insurer has experienced a slight increase in claims relating to theft out of cars between 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. This is after a considerable increase of 66.85% in 2009/2010. The latest SAPS crime stats show that theft out of motor vehicle incidents rose by 4.8% in the past year.

According to Robyn Farrell, managing director of 1st for Women Insurance, “Items that are typically stolen from vehicles are usually small, easy to hide, and easy to sell-off or pawn. Goods that 1st for Women’s customers commonly report being stolen from their cars include laptops, iPads, cellphones, handbags, clothes, sun glasses and shopping bags filled with newly-bought or yet-to-be-unpacked items.

However, it is not uncommon to receive claims for larger items such as golf clubs, laptops and car sound speakers.” Jamming vehicle remotes is becoming a more commonly-used modus operandi. However, Farrell says there are still many incidents of thieves simply smashing windows to break in.

A lot of incidents occur while vehicles are parked at shopping centres and even hospital or gym parking lots “Our claims data suggests the same thing as the recent SAPS crime stats; theft out of motor vehicles is a common crime and incidence is rising.

And, it’s costing car-owners and insurance companies a lot of money. “The ‘remote jamming’ scam is increasingly being used by criminals who watch their targets as they lock and leave their vehicles, and then use other remotes to interfere with the car-owners’ remote frequencies, preventing them from locking the cars.

This puts victims in a tricky position when it comes to proving to their insurers that a theft actually took place because there are no signs of forced entry. Still, for the most part thieves still break into cars using force, and smash-and-grabs remain a symptom of our times. “The only way to prevent your valuables from being stolen out of your car is to avoid leaving them in it. Of course, it isn’t always possible to avoid carrying items of value in our cars.

However, we can take care to only carry what is necessary, keeping it hidden from view, and then remembering to remove valuables on arriving out our destinations,” says Farrell. Farrell says many car-owners leave their house or office keys in their cars, which are also known to be stolen during vehicle break-ins.

“Don’t leave in your car any keys or documentation that could lead a criminal to your home, or offer them insight into your identity or habits. This includes utility bills and bank statements. It is just asking for trouble,” she cautions. She concludes with this advice:

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