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TheStreet Open House

What You Found: Inflatable Dolls, Loaded Guns





On Sept. 30, we revealed the results of a recent CarInsurance.com survey that found 63 percent of drivers who borrowed cars admitted snooping around once they had the keys. (See " A borrowed car is a license to snoop.")

Usually snoopers found mundane items like cellphones or expired registration or insurance cards. But a lot of them also ran across guns, booze, drugs and what we cautiously referred to as "surprising photos."

Readers had a lot to say about the survey results. Some of our favorites:

  • I rarely borrow a car, or loan out my own, but the results of what people found almost justify it. It seems like the proper thing to do is at least verify [that the car has] valid registration and insurance before you drive off.  Imagine you get pulled over and there's a gun or drugs in the car?  The phrase "honest, officer, I was borrowing my friend's car" doesn't sound so funny anymore.
  • Family can almost be expected [to snoop]. Love interests I can sort of understand. But no one else would really have any real reason to snoop.
  • I have a cousin who kept an inflatable "doll" under his front passenger seat. I saw it by accident and had to ask him about it. He explained he kept it there so he could inflate it (with a car power outlet/cigarette lighter powered air pump) and prop it up in order to use the carpool lane.
  • I borrowed a friend's Explorer one time. While I was driving down the road, I heard something rattling in the sunglasses compartment.  When I hit the button to see what it was, a loaded pistol fell into my lap.   Being an individual who is not allowed to possess firearms, I wish I would have snooped before I left with the vehicle.

Clearly, some people take the process more seriously than others do:

  • I have lent my vehicle to my best friend. I write a letter of authorization with copies of her and her husband's driver's license and all of my contact info. I put the letter, my registration and insurance info in an envelope and clip it to the back of the visor.
  • I clean everything out of the car that I might need in my other vehicle. I lend the vehicle with a full tank of gas and expect to get it back with a full tank of gas. I show her the fuel log and expect to find new entries when it comes home. If the vehicle has any hiccups, I point them out, and I expect her to let me know if new issues pop up.

Others, not so much:

  • If I knew someone was snooping, I'd fill my car with all kinds of stuff that'd freak them out.
  • Reminds me of that old joke: Herb, how long have you been wearing nylons? Ever since my wife found that pair in my car. 

The snoopers data simply reconfirmed some readers' notion that lending a vehicle to anyone is a bad idea:

  • Borrow my car? I don't think so. If you need transportation, I will: 1. Take you there myself. 2. Let you use my phone to call a cab or a friend, or 3. Tell you to take a hike!
  • Why would you lend your car to people?  It's one thing to give people a ride, but lending; no way.

"There are two things you don't loan out." many readers proclaimed. "Your wife and your car.”

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