Do you leave your car to thaw with the engine running on a cold morning? The AA is warning us not to as so-called ‘Frosting’ thefts increase as the cold weather bites. In most cases the driver has started the car to allow it to warm up with the engine ticking over and the heaters and de-misters on, while they pop back indoors to finish a cup of tea and get ready for the morning commute. When they come outside, the car has gone!
Michael Lloyd, the AA’s insurance director, agrees that it is tempting to leave your car thawing but warns that opportunist car thieves welcome the icy conditions – because they know there will be cars on drives, with the keys in: "The thief just has to jump in the car and drive it off," he says. "Around, two-thirds of stolen cars are never recovered and are often out of the country within hours, either to be re-sold or broken for spares. Unfortunately for the owner, it's highly unlikely that any insurer will pay out for a car stolen in this way."
Every insurance policy includes a ‘duty of care’ on the part of the car’s owner which means that they should not do anything that could avoidably lead to loss or damage and this falls squarely into that category. Most will also include specific terms excluding claims where keys were left in the car. So if you are going to waste costly fuel by warming it up using the engine, you must remain with it all the time.
"The keys are the weakest link in the car security chain and modern cars can't be stolen without them. Thieves also target specific car models and welcome the help of Jack Frost to strike," adds Michael.
5 ways to have a frost-free car
- Cover the car windscreen with an old blanket or cardboard when you park up to help prevent frost settling.
- Clear frosted windows with proprietary de-icer and a scraper.
- Don’t pouring warm water over your glass. If there’s already a chip, the temperature change shock could lead to a crack developing. What’s more, warm water evaporates more quickly in the cold and can leave a residue of solid ice on your windscreen which is even more difficult to remove with a scraper, while the water that runs on to the drive will quickly turn into an icy slip hazard.
- Start your car and warm it up while you are clearing your car of ice.You should clear all of your glass as well as the headlights and mirrors. This will mean allowing a few minutes extra before you set off but it also means that you will be doing so safely.
- If there’s ice on your car, there’s likely to be ice on roads, especially untreated ones. Black ice can’t easily be seen so drive gently and allow plenty of space between you and the car in front.
- Here are 5 reasons to swtich your car insurance and 9 tips to get your car ready for a winter journey
- Find cheaper car insurance at Mustard.co.uk or speak to a Mustard adviser on 0330 022 7421