If you’ve ever had something stolen from your car, you may have wondered whether your auto or home insurance policy would cover the loss. The answer depends on what was stolen and how it was attached to your vehicle. Here are some scenarios and how different types of insurance may help:
Items Attached to Your Vehicle
If something that is permanently or temporarily attached to your vehicle is stolen, such as a catalytic converter, a stereo system, or a bike rack, you may be able to file a claim with your auto insurance company if you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is an optional type of auto insurance that covers theft and damage to your vehicle from causes other than collision, such as fire, vandalism, hail, or falling objects.
Comprehensive coverage will pay for the repair or replacement of the stolen item, up to the actual cash value of your vehicle, minus your deductible. For example, if you have a $500 deductible and your stereo system is worth $1,000, you would receive a check for $500 from your insurer.
However, comprehensive coverage may not cover custom parts or equipment that you added to your vehicle after you bought it, such as an aftermarket sound system or a spoiler. To cover these items, you may need to buy custom parts and equipment (CPE) coverage, which is an endorsement that you can add to your auto policy for an extra cost. CPE coverage will pay for the repair or replacement of the custom parts or equipment, up to a specified limit that you choose.
Items Not Attached to Your Vehicle
If something that is not attached to your vehicle is stolen from inside your car, such as a laptop, a phone, a purse, or a suitcase, you may not be able to file a claim with your auto insurance company. Comprehensive coverage only covers items that are part of or attached to your vehicle. However, you may be able to file a claim with your home or renter’s insurance company if you have personal property coverage.
Personal property coverage is a standard part of most renter’s & home insurance policies. It covers your personal belongings against theft and damage from perils listed in your policy, such as fire, smoke, windstorm, or vandalism. Personal property coverage applies to your belongings regardless of where they are located, whether at home or away from home. This means that if something is stolen from your car while it is parked in your driveway or in a parking lot, you may be able to file a claim with your home insurer.
Personal property coverage will pay for the repair or replacement of the stolen item, up to the limit of your policy, minus your deductible. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible and your laptop is worth $2,000, you would receive a check for $1,000 from your insurer.
However, personal property coverage may have lower limits for certain categories of items, such as jewelry, electronics, firearms, or cash. For example, if your policy has a $2,500 limit for electronics and your laptop and phone are both stolen from your car for a total value of $3,000, you would only receive $2,500 from your insurer. To increase the limits for these items, you may need to buy scheduled personal property coverage (SPP), which is an endorsement that you can add to your home policy for an extra cost. SPP coverage will pay for the repair or replacement of the scheduled items up to their appraised value.
How to Prevent Theft From Your Car
The best way to avoid having something stolen from your car is to prevent theft in the first place. Here are some tips to keep your car and belongings safe:
- Always lock your doors and windows when you park your car
- Never leave valuables in plain sight inside your car
- Park in well-lit and secure areas
- Use anti-theft devices such as alarms or steering wheel locks
- Keep track of your keys and never leave them in the ignition
- Report any suspicious activity around your car to the police
If something is stolen from your car, it may be covered by either your auto or home insurance policy depending on what was stolen and how it was attached to your vehicle. To protect yourself from theft losses, it is important to review both policies and understand what is covered and what is not. You may also want to consider adding endorsements such as CPE or SPP to increase your coverage limits for custom parts or valuable items. And of course, you should always take precautions to prevent theft from your car in the first place.
To learn more about auto insurance, check out our Auto Insurance Interactive Graphic.