Rhianna famously offered the chance to “stand under my umbrella, now that it’s raining more than ever,” well if you are sheltering under a brolly in the UK there is every chance it has been stolen.  New research from Churchill Insurance reveals that 11 per cent of people admit to having stolen an umbrella from a colleague, friend or stranger in the last year, with one-in-twenty admitting to stealing two or more!

The study, that was conducted to support Churchill’s special edition umbrella giveaway, revealed that when it comes to morals and ethics it appears the wet weather washes them away. Surprisingly, one in 10 (nine per cent) say they believe umbrellas are ‘fair game,’ communal property they can take whenever needed.  Of those that have stolen an umbrella, almost a quarter (23 per cent) took it from a work colleague, while 18 per cent have stolen one from a stranger on public transport or at a station. 

The high incidence of umbrella theft may be partly explained by people seeking an immediate replacement for a lost umbrella before heading out into the rain.  More than a fifth (22 per cent) of people have lost an umbrella in the last year, while 10 per cent have lost two or more. 

Claire Foster, spokesperson at Churchill Insurance said: “When it comes to wet weather it seems people are more concerned with keeping dry than worrying whose property they are sheltering under.  Faced with the prospect of arriving at work, or to meet a friend, completely bedraggled it is easy to see why someone might be tempted to ‘liberate’ an umbrella. Those keeping an umbrella under their desk or leaving it at a restaurant entrance might want to keep a close eye on it because otherwise they may be the one walking home in the rain.”

The trend for people carrying golfing umbrellas, with their sharp metal points on congested town and city pavements, may help explain the high number of umbrella related injuries.  Churchill’s research shows eight per cent of people claim to have been injured by an umbrella in the last year.

Being caught without an umbrella can have extremely unfortunate consequences, especially if heading to an important meeting or social event.  When caught in the wet without an umbrella nine per cent of people have seen important documents ruined.  Embarrassment has struck eight per cent of Brits who have seen their clothing go see through in the rain, while one in twenty (six per cent) have had a fake tan or make-up disaster without the shelter of a brolly.