More than half of drivers who borrow cars do some snooping, and they run across guns, liquor and the occasional uncomfortable snapshot with surprising frequency, according to a survey commissioned by CarInsurance.com.
In a survey of 1,500 licensed drivers, of those who had borrowed a car in the last two years, 63 percent had opened the loaned car’s glove box, console or trunk. Half of those snoopers found something more interesting than breath mints and old roadmaps:
• A cell phone, 27 percent
• Surprising photographs, 26 percent
• Liquor, 23 percent
• Expired registration, 23 percent
• Expired insurance, 19 percent
• Medicine, 18 percent
• Illegal substances, 17 percent
• Gun, 15 percent
“If you’re lending out your car, seriously consider taking out private items,” said CarInsurance.com consumer analyst Penny Gusner. “This is particularly true if it’s a man who will be driving off in your car.” Men opened the trunk, glove box or console 76 percent of the time. Just 44 percent of women said they did, the survey found.
Seventy-two percent of the snoopers said they mentioned their discoveries to the owner of the car. “Imagine that conversation,” said Gusner. “Here are your keys back, and here’s a photo I found.” Why are people snooping?
• 41 percent were storing something of their own
• 22 percent said they were rifling around for music
• 20 percent said they were just curious
• 17 percent were searching for the vehicle’s insurance card.
While borrowers were more likely to ask relatives for their car keys, they were much more likely to snoop through the cars of their co-workers and love interests:
• Relatives: 52 percent of vehicle loans; snooped through 56 percent of the time
• Friends, 26 percent of vehicle loans, snooped through 67 percent of the time
• Dating, 9 percent of vehicle loans, snooped through 77 percent of the time
• Co-workers, 8 percent of vehicle loans, snooped through 79 percent of the time
• Neighbors, 5 percent of vehicle loans, snooped through 72 percent of the time.
Of those who have loaned their car to others, only half said they removed items beforehand for privacy reasons.