Unattended car thefts and insurance effects - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Unattended car thefts and insurance effects

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Unattended car thefts could also affect drivers car insurance.

We're almost all guilty of doing it, leaving the car running on a cold morning and running back inside to grab one last cup of coffee, creating the perfect opportunity for your car to be stolen.

This may seem like the convenient thing to do on a cold morning. But..."the problem is, it's really convenient for crooks too," Sgt. Brent Barbee with Amarillo Police Department says.

That's not the only thing they are looking for.

"Something else we see, people take their keys out of the ignition, and even if the car's not running, they say well I'll take the keys out of the ignition and put it in the ash tray, the cup holder, the console, whatever it is. The people that steal cars know exactly where we put our keys," Sgt. Barbee says.

If your car is stolen while it's running, most insurance companies say you're at fault.

"More times than not, if someone leaves their car running and their keys inside the vehicle, the insurance companies will deny a claim. If they file a claim, if the vehicle is wrecked or never recovered, they consider it negligence on part of the owner," Robert Garcia, manager of Amarillo's Insurance Agency says.

Garcia also says all claims filed will stay with you for three years.

"A lot of companies if you try and switch to them, they put it in their underwriting that if you've had a vehicle that you've had stolen, they won't even write you a policy. And it could be the only thing that's ever happened to your vehicle, but as soon as they hear that 'stolen' they don't even want to get on the policy," Garcia says.

Garcia went on to say that most people are unaware of the consequences.