According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, car thefts are on the rise and a contributing factor is unlocked doors or keys left inside the vehicle. Making it easier for thieves is never a good idea, but what are the insurance consequences for leaving your car unlocked? Will your insurance cover your loss if you do?
Most states have laws on the books that make it illegal to leave your car running while it is unattended. Running into the convenience store and leaving your car to idle is usually not legal. These types of laws mostly came about out of environmental concerns but are related to the issue of leaving your keys in your car; Both are an invitation to thieves.
As such, your insurance company will likely not look kindly on you giving easy access to the vehicle and may even find you negligent and at-fault should your car be damaged or stolen.
Laws Against Leaving Your Car Unlocked
While it is not a crime to leave your car unlocked, in some states it may be against the law to leave your keys in your car. In Texas, for example, you can be fined up to $200 for leaving your keys in your car. You can potentially face some jail time also. In Florida, you may be facing a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
While these laws seem excessive, and unlikely to be enforced, they do reflect the larger issue of negligent behavior that leads to car damage and theft, that then leads to higher rates for everyone. This negligence can have very real consequences when it comes to your auto insurance.
Car Insurance and Leaving Your Car Unlocked
Beyond the potential legal issues that you may invite by giving thieves and vandals easy access to your car, you may also find yourself in trouble with your insurance company.
While car insurance generally pays out to other parties involved in an accident you are at-fault for, you may find yourself out of luck if it is discovered that you left your keys in your car. This may end up costing you thousands out-of-pocket to replace your stolen or damaged car.
In addition, just like any other type of insurance claim you can expect your auto insurance rates to rise after such an incident.
What You Can Do
First of course, don’t leave your keys in your car and make sure you always lock it. This is your best defense against thieves and vandals. They are looking for easy targets and simply locking your doors can make it too hard or time consuming for thieves, causing them to move on to the next car.
If you have had the misfortune of having your car stolen and the claims process did not go well, it might be time to shop around for an insurance company you can work with. The InsuranceWins form is the place start.
Simply provide some basic information and we’ll set you up with quotes from well-known insurance companies. You can compare rates, and ratings for their claims process, and find the best fit for you!