You have reached your destination – Brits guide burglars to rich pickings

AXA warns of dangers with SatNavs as 13 million British motorists provide burglars with their home address and over eight million leave their house keys to go with it.

7 July 2011

Posted in Product

AXA home insurance believes SatNav devices are contributing to a growing number of house burglaries in the UK and is urging consumers to change their "home" address on their SatNavs to cut down on linked crimes. In the last five years SatNav ownership has risen from around 13% to around half the adult population and with it the number of related claims.

Statistics from AXA suggest that around 25 million of us will use some form of SatNav in our cars (either fixed/portable or on a mobile phone) and over half (13 million) will have our home address programmed into the device. Of these, two thirds have either never even thought about it as a security risk or if they have, have not been worried enough to do anything about it.

Twelve million people who own a SatNav device will leave it in their car (around 3 million of these are built in). On top of this, around 17% (8.5 million) of us will also leave house keys in cars while nearly one in five (9.5 million people) will leave keys hidden outside our property.

“Careless security surrounding your Sat Nav will provide any opportunistic burglar with everything they need. If the car is not at the inputted ‘home’ address then they'll be able to target your house, let themselves in and take what they want.

“Technology has huge benefits but many consumers are lagging behind when it comes to the additional risks it presents - many SatNav owners are providing burglars with the technological equivalent of an open window.”

Christine Matthews — Head of Household Claims, AXA

AXA home insurance is warning that people need to smarten up and be more SatNav savvy with the following tips:

  1. programme your home address as somewhere close to home rather than your actual address
  2. check your mobile phone as well as traditional SatNav devices for giveaway signs of your home address
  3. mobile phone SatNav users, check for other hints that a burglar might pick up on - such as a calendar that shows you are away
  4. if you are able to take your device out of your car make sure you do so whenever you leave the car
  5. wipe away 'sucker' marks on the windscreen that are an obvious clue that you have a SatNav, and hide away any cables
  6. never leave keys in your car, even hidden away in a glove box. Thieves know this is common practice
  7. hiding keys around your property is never a good idea. Burglars know all the usual hiding places and will also watch a property to see where you go to fetch keys. Leave them with a friendly neighbour instead.