What’s in your garage?

16 July 2008

Motorists are collectively losing out on £200 million by not storing their car in their garages, new research reveals.

Around two-thirds of people fail to keep their car in their garage when not in use, instead preferring to park on the street or driveway. But experts estimate that drivers could save as much as £262 a year on their car insurance by using their garage to store their car.

Jeremy Moll, head of insurance at comparethemarket.com, which collated the figures, says: “Motorists need to be aware that if they have declared on their insurance policy that they keep their car in their garage, and they don’t, then they may not be covered should anything happen to the car - for example, it gets vandalised or stolen.”

The research also found that rather than use garages for storing their cars, many homeowners use the space for household items and garage tools. Comparethemarket.com found that the contents of British garages (excluding cars) are collectively worth between £2.5 billion and £5.1 billion.

Individually, this amounts to goods valued between £500 and £1,000 with around 13% of homes storing items worth up to £5,000 in their garage.

The concern is that many homeowners using their garages as extra storage space are not adequately insured.

Moil adds: “Householders need to check their insurance policies to ensure they are covered for any break-ins in the garage, especially when not connected to the main house or the burglar alarm.

"Where possible householders should cover themselves and not only use lock and key but also connect the garage to a burglar alarm. As well as better security, this can help to keep insurance premiums down.”

Reduce your insurance premiums:

* If possible, store your car in your garage. This not only reduces the chances of thieves running off with your vehicle, but it is also likely to reduce your insurance premiums. Be aware that if you say you keep your car in a garage on your insurance application but it later is stolen from the road outside your home, then you may find you aren’t covered.

* Keep your garage locked and, if possible, connect it to your main burglar alarm.

* Don’t use your garage to store items of high value. Not only are they more at risk of theft, they could also be vulnerable to being damaged by flooding.

* Shop around for the best car insurance deal to suit you. Moneywise provides a free Compare and Buy service for a range of insurance products, including car.

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