Does car insurance cover theft of items in a car?

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Here's what you need to know...
  • If you have a comprehensive auto insurance policy, theft may be covered
  • Typically, only stereo equipment can be covered under a comprehensive auto insurance policy
  • If you have personal items, such as a purse, cell phone or wallet in your car, these items would probably be covered under your home owner’s insurance policy rather than your auto insurance policy
  • You need to consult the specific terms of your comprehensive auto insurance policy to determine exactly what type of claim would be covered in the event of a theft
  • It is a good idea to install an anti-theft device in your car. This may even earn you a discount on your premium from some auto insurance companies

Dealing with the theft of your personal items can be a frustrating and emotional experience. In the middle of sorting through everything, you are probably wondering if you can make a claim for the loss of your personal items under your auto insurance policy.

The first thing you need to know is exactly what type of coverage you have and the types of claims you can make under it. Keep in mind that even if you do have coverage for theft, you may have to pay a deductible out of pocket when making your claim. Rather than filing a theft claim for stolen personal items in your car under your auto insurance policy, you would actually rely on your home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy for coverage.

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Understanding Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage

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Theft of a vehicle is typically covered under comprehensive auto insurance coverage. It is important to remember that you may not automatically have this type of coverage because it is optional. That is, state law does not require you to have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy.

Comprehensive auto insurance coverage typically covers damages such as anything resulting from an incident that is not a collision. There is separate collision auto insurance that can cover damage that your car would sustain in a typical auto insurance accident.

If your car is completely stolen or vandalized, comprehensive auto insurance coverage will kick in to cover this type of damage. You may be surprised to find out, however, that when it comes to the theft or vandalism of individual personal items in your car, they are likely not covered under your comprehensive auto insurance coverage.

If a thief removed and stole parts of your car, like a stereo or other electronics that are actually a part of your car, this loss is something that comprehensive auto insurance coverage your would cover.

When you are shopping around for a good rate on your comprehensive auto insurance coverage, keep in mind that the amount of your deductible can have a significant effect on the rate that you pay for comprehensive auto insurance coverage.

The deductible is the amount that you have to pay out of your own pocket in order to file a claim for loss under your comprehensive auto insurance coverage. If you can afford a higher deductible, then auto insurance companies may be able to lower your rate for comprehensive auto insurance coverage.

Another way that you may be able to get a lower rate for your comprehensive auto insurance coverage is by installing an anti-theft device or equipment in your vehicle. Your auto insurance company may offer a specific discount on your comprehensive auto insurance coverage for the installation of certain equipment. You should check with your auto insurance company first because this discount is not always advertised and it may have strict guidelines for you to follow to be able to take advantage of the lower rate.

Home Owner’s or Rental Insurance Policy and the Theft of Personal Property

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You could make a claim for the theft or vandalism of individual personal items in your car through your home owner’s insurance policy. While this may seem confusing at first, the basic rationale is that your home owner’s insurance policy covers your personal property. This means that anything that is not part of your car itself is considered personal property items that would be covered under your home owner’s insurance policy.

If you own or rent a home then you likely already have a home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy. The same way that you would have to pay a deductible to file a claim through your comprehensive auto insurance coverage, you will also have a deductible for your home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy.

You will need to evaluate the total amount of the loss of your stolen personal items to decide whether it is worth it for you to file a theft claim under your home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy.

Keep in in mind that if you do file a theft claim under your home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy, you may be hit with an increase in your policy premium at the expiration of your current policy term. This is another reason that you may want to evaluate the total amount of your loss before going ahead with filing a claim under your home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy.

One way that you could save money on both your home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy and your auto insurance policy is to ask if there are any discounts available for having multiple lines of coverage under the same insurance company. This is also called bundling.

If you pursue an insurance bundle discount, it is important to make sure that the insurance company you choose is licensed to sell both types of policies in your state. If not, you may be without the required auto insurance policy that you need to drive under state law. You may also be left without any recourse if you end up having to file a claim.

The Bottom Line on Theft of Items in a Car and Your Auto Insurance Coverage

Having your personal items stolen out of your car can leave you frustrated and emotional. When making a claim under your comprehensive auto insurance coverage for theft involving your car, you may not be able to have your removable personal items, such as a purse, cell phone or wallet, covered under this exact policy. Your home owner’s insurance policy may kick in to cover the loss of these personal items, but you may have to pay the amount of your deductible when you file a claim.

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