Thieves are going for unattended cars which have been left to warm up in the winter weather, as owners go back inside to wait, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned.
The cold weather brought a big rise in such thefts last year, it added.
The association said 47% of drivers admit to leaving their cars unattended on cold mornings as they wait for the vehicle to defrost with the keys still in the ignition.
Not only is this leaving the car vulnerable to theft, but it could also mean the owners being left out in the cold with theircar insurance cover, as leaving keys in the ignition may invalidate a claim for not taking reasonable care.
Heading indoors for just a couple of minutes to keep warm is a mistake while warming the car up, said Nick Starling, the ABI's Director of General Insurance.
"It only takes seconds for thieves to strike," he added.
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