Swiftcover.com has reviewed its claims from April 2007 to April 2008 to find that only half of owners have their stolen cars recovered, and of those 48 per cent are damaged and may need extensive repairs before their owners can drive them again.
Ford Fiestas and Volkswagen Golfs are the most common makes and models of stolen cars, and London and the Midlands is the most common region to experience vehicle crime.
Robin Reames, claims director of Swiftcover.com, comments: "Whether you live in a busy town, leafy suburbs or sleepy village, always keep your car secure even for just a few minutes.
"It’s amazing how many people leave their keys in the ignition whilst de-frosting the car, or pop into the post office leaving their car windows open. It’s just an open invitation to opportunistic thieves."
Used car buyers are urged to check that the vehicle that they are buying is not stolen especially if using a private seller.