We look at Sarah’s complaint after her car was stolen by a potential buyer.  

What happened

A potential buyer for Sarah’s car asked to look under the bonnet while the engine was running and then asked for a test drive. As Sarah was closing the bonnet, the buyer jumped in to the driver side and drove off.

Our decision

Sarah’s insurer said her policy didn’t cover theft by deception. However, Sarah hadn’t intended the man to drive off without her. She’d just been closing the bonnet briefly. She hadn’t voluntarily handed over the keys or left the car unattended. So we decided it wasn’t fair for the insurer to apply the exclusion.

In another case, John agreed that a potential buyer could test drive his car. He left the keys with the buyer while he went inside to get the MOT certificate. The buyer then drove off with the car. In this instance, we agreed that John hadn’t taken enough care to prevent his car being stolen and we didn’t uphold his complaint.