Theft from vehicles is one of the major threats to property loss! Yesterday evening I read on Facebook that a friend had a status update referring to her husbands laptop having been stolen from his vehicle.
Many insurers add as an exclusion to their insurance policies any loss from an unattended vehicle.
What is an unattended vehicle?
The Insured was the proud owner of a Colt Rodeo double cab, but like a number of double cab owners, he had a problem – where do you safely lock away valuable items? On Thursday evening, 18th September 2003 and at 18hl0, he parked his Colt Rodeo in North Ridge Road, Durban, and he decided to place his Laptop Computer out of sight and behind the rear seat. A car guard was present guarding the Colt Rodeo and three other vehicles.
Approximately twelve minutes later two males in a white City Golf drove into the parking area and parked behind the Colt. One male got out of the City Golf and allegedly threatened the car guard with his life. He then broke the rear right side passenger window, pulled back the rear seat and withdrew the Laptop Computer. He got back into the white City Golf and they then departed at speed.
The Insurer relied upon the following Clause in the Policy –
“We will not pay for loss by theft of any Laptop, Palmtop, Notebook or similar portable computer from any unattended motor vehicle or office.”
The Ombudsman agreed with the Insurer that an “attended vehicle” is usually where a driver or passenger is present in -the vehicle. In view of the clear terms of the Policy, the Ombudsman agreed with the Insurer that it had correctly rejected the claim.
Source: Ombudsman Annual Report 2004