#car and house insurance
If your house is burgled, make sure your car keys are covered
W hat happens if your car keys are stolen during a home burglary? A Kent woman is warning other motorists to make sure they buy key cover after both her home and car insurer refused to pay to have her locks changed following a theft at her home.
Claire Brown, not her real Christian name, recently returned to her Gillingham house to find that, along with a host of other stuff, the spare key to her new VW Polo – that she had been driving at the time of the break-in – had also been taken.
Advised by police to have the locks on the car changed for obvious reasons, which could easily cost 1,000, Brown says she has since been caught in the crossfire as her house and car insurers both refused to cover the cost, each insisting the other is liable.
John Lewis. which provided her home insurance through Axa, has told her it will not pay because the spare key is considered, in its words, to be a car accessory . Meanwhile, Tesco. which insured the car at the time of the theft, said her policy did not cover keys being taken. It has told her to go back to John Lewis.
Tesco has advised the car was covered if it was stolen, but it did not offer key cover when I took out the policy. However, my renewal notice indicates this is now available for 15, Brown says. It seems this extra cover has only just been offered and was not available when I took out the current insurance. I’m going around in circles and no one wants to pay up.
John Brady, head of commercial at John Lewis Insurance. says: Car keys are classed as vehicle ‘parts and accessories’ and their loss or damage is excluded from our home insurance policy. This is a common exclusion on home insurance policies across the industry.
He insisted this type of cover is usually offered by car insurance providers, either as standard (as with the John Lewis policy) or as an optional extra.
A look at the industry shows that many insurers do offer key cover as standard, with others charging around 10- 15. Inclusive policies typically have a maximum 750- 1,500 payout.
A spokeswoman for Tesco Bank says: Unfortunately, our customer’s policy didn’t include key cover and we have spoken to her to explain this. However, we realise that for some customers key cover is an important part of their car insurance, which is why we now offer this as an optional extra.
Unhappy with Tesco’s stance, Brown has declined its offer and instead moved her policy to M S – one that does include key cover as standard.
The Financial Ombudsman Service has told Money that it would consider a complaint from Brown against either insurer. It would examine whether any exclusions were sufficiently flagged up in the policy documents, and says it would probably target the motor insurer first if she were to file a complaint.