Spate of Hawkes Bay thefts wake-up call for insurance customers

26 April 2016

A spate of thefts from cars in a Hawkes Bay park on Sunday is a wake-up call for insurance customers, says Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman, Karen Stevens.

Cash of $1,100 and other valuables were stolen from 3 parked cars at Pakowhai Country Park. One of the residents said her bag was stolen together with her phone, jacket, Ray Ban sunglasses, ipad, and wallet with $600 cash. Her bag was under the passenger seat of her car, but still visible.

“Many people do leave their valuables visible in their car and, unfortunately, it is a double risk. You could have your items stolen and find you have no insurance cover,” says Karen.

Taking “reasonable care” of your property is a standard requirement in insurance policies, particularly car, house, contents and travel insurance policies. “We receive many complaints when insurance claims have been declined, because insurers do not believe people took reasonable care for the safety and security of their property,” says Karen.

The message from the NZ Police to “lock it or lose it” also applies to insurance customers - don’t just lock your car and wind up your windows, but always take care of your valuables including wallets, phones, i-pads, laptops, cameras, or sports gear.

The “lock it or lose it” steps apply to everyone:

  1. Lock your car
  2. Take all valuables with you
  3. Make sure car windows are closed
  4. Consider installing an alarm.

“Taking reasonable care extends further than when you leave items in a car. Other big ‘don’ts’ include: don’t leave the windows of your house open when you’re out; don’t leave your bag on a beach while swimming; and don’t leave your luggage unattended at airports. Unfortunately, many people think they’re automatically covered if they have paid for insurance. Not necessarily so, unless you comply with your policy obligations,” says Karen. You must always take care of your valuables, and take necessary precautions to avoid theft or burglary.

The IFSO Scheme has been resolving complaints about insurance and financial services for 20 years. Case studies of all IFSO Scheme complaints can be found at: