Car Borrowers Are Big-Time Snoops

Jim Motavalli

Jim Motavalli | Oct 01, 2013

If you regularly loan your car to friends, think twice: They’re probably—not possibly, probably—going through your private stuff. That unbelievable conclusion is the result of a survey of 1,500 licensed drivers by

Look at those stats! People are amazingly nosy. (
Look at those stats! People are amazingly nosy. (

An amazing 63 percent said they’d rifled the glove box, console or trunk of vehicles they’d borrowed in the past two years. For people who were dating the car owner, the snoop rate was even higher.
According to Penny Gusner, a spokeswoman for the insurer, “Yup, they snoop around. They say they were storing their own stuff, looking for music or ‘just curious,’ and in the process saw the material belonging to the owners. And in addition to that, 72 percent said they later mentioned what they came across to the car owner. We’re not sure why you would tell your friend you were snooping around.”
The finds included “surprising photographs” (26 percent), liquor (23 percent), expired registration (23 percent), expired insurance (19 percent), medicine (18 percent), illegal substances (17 percent) and a gun (15 percent). Gusner’s advice is to clean out your car before you lend it out, but let’s be real here—how many people are actually going to do that? Only half in the poll pre-clean their loaner cars.
Hardly surprising, it was relatives who borrowed the most cars. They were more than half of all loans, and they invaded your privacy 56 percent of the time. So-called “friends” were only 26 percent of loans, but they poked around 67 percent of the time.
If you’re crazy enough to loan your vehicle to someone you’re dating, expect these consequences: 77 percent of the time, they’ll go through your stuff. Co-workers (just eight percent of loans) are even nosier—79 percent snooping. I shudder to think what happens if you give people the keys to your apartment.
Gusner says, “If you trust someone, you should consider loaning them your car, but make sure your insurance policy covers them. Most policies do cover ‘permissive users,’ but some only named drivers.” But after this poll, why should we trust anyone—with our cars or anything else?

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