British drivers are leaving more than £1 billion worth of valuables in their car, research by insurance company Zurich has found.
Zurich found that UK motorists leave £1.6 billion worth of possessions in their car, making them an easy target for thieves.
More than half of drivers said they regularly leave valuable items in their car overnight, with many not bothering to lock them out of sight.
The research also found that many drivers underestimate the value of the possessions they leave in the car.
Those who left valuables in their car overnight estimated them at around £85, but data from The British Crime Survey found the average amount stolen from cars was nearer to £200.
“It can be a pretty distressing experience finding your car has been broken into. There’s the financial loss, as well as the added misery of when something irreplaceable or sentimental is stolen,” said Zurich’s Steve Gilbert.
“It is vital that car owners don’t leave their possessions on show. Thieves don’t need an added invitation to break into your car so don’t give them one.”
The most common item left in the car by drivers is sunglasses, with 77% of people admitting to this. Clothes and shoes were the second most common item left in the car, with 28%.
Other valuable items left in cars included satnavs, mobile phones and MP3 players. Many drivers also said they leave more than £20 in cash in their car.
“It’s encouraging that fewer motorists are leaving possessions in their car – with the proportion falling from 85% in 2007 to 51% today,” added Mr Gilbert.
“But it’s still important to remember that anything which has to be stored in the vehicle should also be locked-up.”
It seems that many drivers are still being careless about their car’s security. The British Crime Survey found that thieves got access to a car through an unlocked door in more than a third of incidents.
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