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Theft from rental/leased car?

Has anyone been unfortunate enough to have their car broken into and personal belongings stolen? If so, how did you proceed to take care of this Incident? Since we're leasing a car for six weeks and traveling to several areas of France (staying in hotels and BnB's,) our luggage will be in the car between these places and we're a bit concerned to visit a site in transit, even though we'll take all precautions to keep them out of sight and the car locked.

Posted by
20332 posts

Travel insurance?

Park in lots with security cameras. Don't park at any places tourists obviously visit that are remote and thieves will know you won't be back for a while. An Italian business colleague's advice, "Don't park anywhere you see broken glass on the ground."

Posted by
631 posts

you can be pretty sure that the leasing insurance won't cover you. Your travel insurance probably will but it will probably have a clause saying that if the car is unattended it must be locked and the valuables must be in the trunk. This is good advice since if nothing is visible in the car it reduces the chances of an opportunist theft.

Posted by
8210 posts

Check with your personal insurance agent. Often personal belongings are covered under homeowners insurance back home. Most European cars have trunks or retractable covers over hatchback luggage areas.

Posted by
509 posts

Another precaution: We travel with a cable-lock. We lash 2 suitcases together and try to tether them to something inside the rental car. It probably wouldn't be effective vs. professionals, but maybe opportunistic kids would be discouraged. We also read somewhere to: (i) keep your maps and travel brochures out of sight; (ii) buy a local newspaper and leave it in sight. I don't think we've actually done the latter.

Posted by
2031 posts

Years ago, but my homeowners policy covered me when my suitcase was stolen out of a rental car in Florida. It was in the hatchback, and they pried the door open. I was young, when I called the police to report the theft, they laughed out loud. Perhaps check with your agent before purchasing additional coverage.

Posted by
3984 posts

Another tip: keep organized and don't rummage around in your own trunk organizing things when others are around.

My brother in law's rental car was broken into in Nice and things were stolen, including guidebooks we'd loaned them. Their homeowners insurance took care of their loses. There might have been a deductible, IDK that detail. They did file a police report.

Posted by
776 posts

We also travel with 2 cable locks and attach all our bags together and then attach them to the car. We park as close to attendants at manned lots and as close as possible to the entrance at non manned lots. We were lucky in France on our 16 days of driving. I hope our luck holds out when we drive around the UK this fall.......fingers crossed.

Posted by
8173 posts

We had an acquaintance who had everything taken from his car at a beach stop; they had left everything in the car. It isn't common, but you don't know if the area you are parking in has a ring of thieves that empty cars regularly. If you see broken glass shards sparkling in the gravel, don't park there or don't leave stuff there.

We usually base out of a town when exploring a region and stow our stuff in the lodging before touring. If we are on the road and stop for lunch or whatever we never open the trunk at the site (any stowing and rearranging occurs at a rest stop before this stop), we never leave the cameras, ID, computers etc in the car. We keep the valuables in messenger bags in the car and carry those into the restaurant with us. We try to park where we can observe the car where that is possible. Nothing, not even a map or book is left showing in the cab of the car. At gas stations we take turns using the facilities and staying with the car. I go while he fills the tank and then I come back and he goes in to pay and use the restroom while I move the car from the pumps and wait.

Most rentals are hatchbacks with flimsy covers for the luggage and it will be obvious you have luggage. If you have lots it will poke up the cover, but even not, if the cover is pulled, a thief knows it is hiding stuff. Minimize the stops you have with a full car.

Posted by
2023 posts

We also use the cable locks--got them at Home Depot.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. We just got the bicycle cable and lock out of the garage and it's packed and ready to go! The other suggestions were very much appreciated also. Merci!

Posted by
28 posts

One other tip is to park with the rear of your car against a wall if possible, making access to your trunk impossible or at least very difficult. We had a rental in France last year for a week and did this when possible and it made me feel a little better about leaving luggage in the car. And I do think from what I observed is that most rentals are hatchbacks, so you need to be extra careful.

Posted by
4617 posts

With deductible homeowners insurance useless, mine is $2500.

Hatchbacks always have privacy covers.

Posted by
8173 posts

If the 'privacy cover' is used, any thief knows it is covering up luggage. Hatchbacks suck, but alas virtually all rentals in Europe are hatchback.

Posted by
1658 posts

The parcel shelf, the privacy cover, is standard on all hatchbacks, is usually kept on by most drivers. Thieves are only really going to be interested if it is a long distance plate and it is nudging up providing a gap.

Posted by
495 posts

Maybe Jane's advice makes sense in the US where hatchbacks are less common?

In "Europe" not only are hatchbacks common rental cars they are just common cars full stop. I've never owned a non-hatchback car for instance. Also they all have "privacy covers" or parcel shelves as they are called in English English.

So, having a hatchback and having the parcel shelf on does not make you a special target. Having luggage bulging up through the shelf might, but that isn't a hatchback thing. If the parcel shelf won't go down then the boot is too small. You'd actually have a worse problem with a separate boot as you would need to use the back seat instead.

Posted by
2916 posts

I believe that homeowners insurance will usually cover it, but, as someone mentioned, there's the deductible to consider. It also won't cover the damage to the car.

Posted by
437 posts

Another tip: when there's an option, it's worth paying to park in a staffed lot instead of along the street. We have parked with luggage while in transit and never had a problem. We take precautions as others have posted (including cable lock) but there isn't a way to hide ski bags. It really depends on where you stop and most places are totally safe. Be careful but don't worry too much.

Much of the pleasure of having a car is the added stops along the way and they make great memories - a beach south of Venice, a waterfall hike, many leisurely lunch stops, walking in tiny towns - Swabish Hall was great, tiny and beautiful Gedding, so many great moments when leaving the car added to the trip.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
12172 posts

I didn't have anything stolen or the car broken into, but I can say there were at least a few parking lots I avoided. An example is the parking lot near the train station in La Spezia (where you catch trains into CT). There was broken glass all over the parking lot (an indication that cars had been broken into, or at least the kind of activity I wouldn't want to leave my car). I asked and there was free parking about a mile away by the navy base. It was kind of a long walk, but the car was in one piece when I got back and it was free.

If you lease, you get to pick the car. Make sure you pick a car that will fit all your luggage comfortably in an compartment that isn't in sight. Keep everything is out of sight, leave the front completely empty (and don't put things in the trunk/covered space when you park, someone could be watching).