MORE than 850,000 Singaporeans drive into and out of Malaysia every month, according to figures from the Land Transport Authority.
But an increasing number have had to hitch a ride back from friends, or return to Singapore by public transport – because their vehicles were stolen in Malaysia.
Though still small, the number of Singaporeans reporting the loss of their cars while in Malaysia is clearly up.
The three largest car insurers in Singapore said most of the cars were stolen while parked by the road, in open car parks, and even in the car parks of shopping malls and hotels.
NTUC Income, which has the biggest share – 40% – of the car insurance pie, said 126 of its policyholders lost their vehicles to thieves in Malaysia last year. This is more than double the 56 cases in 2001.
AXA encountered eight cases last year, up three from the previous year.
At AIG, five clients lost their cars in Malaysia in the first six months of this year, three more than the same period last year.
The three companies insure about 60% of the 405,000 cars in Singapore.
NTUC Income’s CEO Tan Kin Lian attributed the rising numbers in part to the region’s dampened economic situation, which contributed to a higher crime rate.
He made it a point to note that his company has not detected any cases in which owners in financial difficulty “are working with the thieves to fabricate the theft claims.” The other two companies echoed his view.
Car owners, who are required to lodge a police report in Malaysia and furnish details to the insurance companies, can expect to be compensated within three months. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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