The spate of thefts from cars in a Hawke's Bay park at the weekend is a "wake-up call" for insurance customers, Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens says.

An estimated $1100 cash and other valuables were stolen from three parked cars at Pakowhai Country Park. A woman said her bag, phone, jacket, sunglasses, iPad and wallet with $600 cash were stolen. Her bag was under the passenger seat of her car but still visible.

Ms Stevens said many people left their valuables visible in their cars and, unfortunately, it was a double risk.

"You could have your items stolen and find you have no insurance cover."

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Taking "reasonable care" of your property was a standard policy requirement, particularly car, house, contents and travel insurance policies.

"We receive many complaints when insurance claims have been declined, because insurers do not believe people took reasonable care for the safety and security of their property," she said.

The message from police to "lock it or lose it" also applied to insurance customers - don't just lock your car and wind up your windows but always take care of your valuables, including wallets, phones, iPads, laptops, cameras or sports gear.

Ms Stevens said people also needed to ensure they protected their possessions at all times.

"Unfortunately, many people think they're automatically covered if they have paid for insurance. Not necessarily so, unless you comply with your policy obligations."