Car insurance premiums have shot up by 5% over the last three months due to an increase in car crime, a new study has shown.
With thieves often targeting expensive vehicles, insurance premiums are rising at their fastest rate for 15 years, according to AA Insurance.
Once vehicles are stolen, they are often never found as they may be taken overseas, cloned or dismantled for parts.
However, the study stressed that much of the car crime is due to driver carelessness and has warned drivers against leaving their cars running to warm them up on frosty mornings.
There has been a 15% increase in claims this year from people who had their car keys stolen from inside their house, the report added.
AA Insurance director Simon Douglas said: "Keys are the weakest link in the car theft chain and modern cars can't easily be taken without them.
"Unfortunately, many drivers still leave keys in their cars even for a moment, for example, popping back into the house because they have forgotten something, at petrol stations or while feeding a pay-and-display machine or parking meter."
© Press Association 2009