Study: Loaned Car Provides License to Snoop

By Matt Schmitz  on October 1, 2013

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Do you think your neighbor is nosy, checking in when you're building something in the garage or when guests arrive at your home? Then you might want to have a good excuse ready in case they ask to borrow your car.

According to a study by CarInsurance.com, 72% of participants who borrowed a neighbor's car admitted to poking around inside to see what they could find. Neighbors weren't even the most-frequent offenders; that dubious honor goes to your co-workers, who snooped 79% of the time, followed by the person you're dating, snooping 77% of the time.

Still, of the 1,500 surveyed snoopers, neighbors, co-workers and romantic interests each comprised less than 10% of car borrowers. The ones you've really got to watch out for are your relatives and friends. The study found that 52% of participants had borrowed a relative's car and, of those, 56% had snooped. Among friends, 26% reported borrowing a pal's car and 67% of those snooped.

Men were more likely to snoop than women, with 77% of men owning up to it versus 44% of women. So what were they after? The most-frequent excuse — given by 41% of respondents — was that they were storing their own belongings. Other explanations included "looking for music" (22%), "just curious" (20%) and "searching for the vehicle's insurance card" (17%). The most-popular search spots were the center console (52%), the trunk (39%) and the glove compartment (35%).

So, what incriminating evidence or embarrassing artifacts did the snoopers uncover? Study participants — 72% of whom also said they reported their discoveries to the car owner — found:

  • Cell phones (27%)
  • Surprising photos (26%)
  • Liquor (23%)
  • Expired registration (23%)
  • Expired insurance (19%)
  • Medicine (18%)
  • Illegal substances (17%)
  • Guns (15%)
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