If your insured car is stolen with personal items inside, you may be wondering what kind of coverage you have and what steps you need to take.
The answer depends on the type of insurance you have, the value of your belongings, and the circumstances of the theft.
In this article, we will explain how car theft and personal belongings are covered by different types of insurance, what to do if your car is stolen, and how to protect your valuable cargo from theft.
Car Theft and Personal Belongings: Understanding Your Insurance Coverage
Does Car Insurance Cover the Theft of Personal Items?
Car insurance does not cover theft of personal items that were taken from your car. Liability coverage, what the state requires you to have to drive legally, only covers the people you injure and the property you damage in an accident. Comprehensive coverage, which is optional, covers damage or loss to your vehicle from non-collision events, such as fire, flood, vandalism, or theft. However, comprehensive coverage only pays for the theft of the vehicle itself and sometimes for the theft of specific parts, such as a catalytic converter. It does not pay for the items inside your car, such as your laptop, cellphone, luggage, or clothing.
Types of Insurance that may Cover Stolen Personal Items
If your car insurance does not cover theft of personal items, you may have other options for coverage. For example, if you have a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, it may cover property stolen from your home as well as your vehicle. You will need to check your policy details and limits to see what is covered and how much you can claim. You may also have to pay a deductible before you can receive reimbursement.
Another option is to purchase personal property coverage from your car insurance company. This is a rare and optional type of coverage that may be available for an additional fee. It covers the theft of personal items from your vehicle up to a certain limit. However, this coverage may not be worth it if the cost of the premium is higher than the value of your belongings or if you already have coverage from another source.
Limitations to Coverage
Even if you have insurance that covers theft of personal items, there may be some limitations to your coverage. For instance, some policies may only cover certain types of items or exclude items that are considered high-risk or high-value, such as jewelry, cash, electronics, or firearms. Some policies may also have a cap on the amount you can claim per item or per incident. Furthermore, some policies may require you to provide proof of ownership or value for the items you claim, such as receipts, invoices, or appraisals.
What to Do If Your Car is Stolen?
If your car is stolen with personal items inside, you should take the following steps as soon as possible:
- Filing a police report: You should report the theft to the local police and provide them with details about your car and its contents. You will need a copy of the police report to file a claim with your insurance company.
- Contacting your insurance company: You should notify your insurance company about the theft and file a claim for your vehicle and/or your personal belongings. You will need to provide them with information about your policy number, vehicle identification number (VIN), license plate number, location and time of the theft, description of your car and its contents, and a copy of the police report.
- Potential coverage for rental cars: If you have comprehensive coverage for your car, you may also have rental reimbursement coverage. This is an optional type of coverage that pays for a rental car while your vehicle issue is resolved. You will need to check your policy limits and terms to see how much and how long you can rent a car for.
- Potential gaps in coverage: If you do not have comprehensive coverage for your car or personal property coverage for your belongings, you may not receive any reimbursement from your car insurance company. You will have to bear the cost of replacing your car and/or your items yourself. You may also have to continue paying for your car loan or lease if you still owe money on your vehicle.
Protecting Your Valuable Cargo
While insurance can provide some financial protection in case of theft, it is better to prevent theft from happening in the first place. Here are some tips for protecting your valuable cargo from thieves:
- Park in well-lit and secure areas: Avoid parking in dark or isolated places where thieves can easily break into your car. Park in areas that have surveillance cameras, security guards, or other deterrents.
- Lock your doors and windows: Always lock your doors and windows when you leave your car. Do not leave any keys or spare keys inside or outside your car. Use an anti-theft device, such as a steering wheel lock, an alarm system, or a tracking device, to make your car harder to steal.
- Hide or remove your valuables: Do not leave any valuables in plain sight inside your car. Hide them in the trunk, under the seat, or in the glove compartment. Better yet, remove them from your car altogether or take them with you when you exit your car.
- Keep an inventory of your items: Make a list of the items you keep in your car and their approximate value. Take photos or videos of your items and store them in a safe place. This will help you prove ownership and value if you need to file a claim.
Unforeseen Circumstances and Coverage Options
Car theft is an unfortunate and stressful event that can happen to anyone. If your car is stolen with personal items inside, you may have some coverage options depending on the type of insurance you have and the value of your belongings. However, you should also take steps to prevent theft and protect your valuable cargo from thieves. By doing so, you can avoid the hassle and cost of losing your car and/or your items.