What does it mean for your insurance company to leave Christmas gifts in the trunk?

Anyone who hides Christmas presents in the trunk of their car can be exposed if their vehicle is attacked by thieves.

According to Go Compare, just 14% of car insurance policies cover personal belongings over £400, with 18% covering less than £150.

With the average Brit spending £430 on gifts, according to Finder’s research, leaving them in your car is likely to not cover all of your Christmas shopping.

Here we take a look at how much personal belongings you can cover from your car insurance and whether your home insurance could cover the cost of lost gifts instead.

Auto crime on the rise

In 2022, the number of car thefts in London increased by 16% compared to the previous year, rising from 27,859 to 32,294 incidents. Keyless cars and cars with items on display were the most commonly attacked.

That’s according to data released by the Met Police over the 12-month period from June 2021 to June 2022. Not surprisingly, most burglaries happened late in the evening or at night.

Does car insurance cover personal items?

Most full coverage auto insurance providers offer coverage for personal items if they are stolen from your car, including Christmas presents. However, the amount of coverage you get varies between policies, so it’s a good idea to check how much personal property coverage is included.

Your policy may require you to take certain measures to protect valuable items from theft – such as storing them out of sight. If it turns out you didn’t follow these steps when Make a claim for car insurancecan be rejected.

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Average personal possession coverage

According to data from Go Compare, based on 305 standard car insurance policies, very few policies cover more than £400 or personal belongings. It turned out that:

  • 18% of policies cover personal effects worth less than £150
  • 34% offer cover between £150 and £249
  • 34% offer cover between £250 and £399
  • 14% of policies cover possessions valued at £400 or more.

You can check the coverage of your personal belongings in your signed agreement. If you’re still unsure, it’s best to confirm with your provider.

  • Find out more: How to find cheap car insurance

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Could your home insurance cover the cost?

Almost all household insurance Protect your personal belongings from fire, theft and accidental damage, even if you’ve taken them outside the home – Go Compare research found that 43% of home insurance policies cover belongings in your car.

However, as with car insurance, the total value of coverage for personal items will vary. In general, home insurance tended to offer a higher level of coverage for personal items, with 20% of policies offering coverage of £1,500 or more.

There’s no guarantee that Christmas gifts will count as personal belongings and – if they’re stolen from your car – insurers may require proof that they were securely locked away.

Again, it’s best to confirm this with your provider – especially if you’re considering taking expensive items away from your home, like laptops or phones.

  • Find out more: How to find cheap home insurance
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How to find cheap insurance

If you’re looking to renew your home or car insurance, it’s a good idea to research what policies are available.

Using a comparison website and checking the provider details can help you compare what’s on offer – and you may be able to specify the level of personal effects coverage that suits your needs.

If you are not yet due to renew your policy, you can take this opportunity to consider what you would like in your next policy. We have lots of tips on how to keep your costs down Haggling for cheap car insurance to Get cheaper home insurance quotesso you get the best deal possible when you come to renewal.

Alternative ways to keep your Christmas gifts safe

Ultimately, storing gifts in the car is not the safest option. Not only is it a security risk, but you also risk loss if the gifts are stolen and not covered by your insurance.

Instead, keep gifts safe in your home. If you want to protect them from prying eyes, try hiding them on a high shelf or at the top of a closet, or place them in a bait bag to avoid suspicion.

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