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Does car insurance cover theft from a vehicle?

Black Friday means busy shopping malls and big-box stores, despite the rise of the online shopping era. With crowded stores come crowded parking lots, leaving many people wondering if car insurance will cover theft from their vehicles.

The following scenario will be playing out all over the country

You exit a store on your Black Friday shopping spree to find your car windows smashed and your cleverly hidden purchases snatched from the backseat. Someone has broken into your car.

You may be wondering, “Will car insurance cover theft of personal property?”

The answer is, probably not. Comprehensive car insurance typically covers repair costs resulting from break-ins, like a damaged window or door lock, but its limited to permanent components of your car. (Damage by valet is discussed in this other post.)

Surprise! Theft may be covered by home or renters insurance

If someone steals your phone, wallet or packages from your car, you’ll be happy to learn that you may be covered by your home insurance or renters insurance plan, even when you are away from home and even if you leave your doors unlocked.

Before filing a claim, keep this in mind

Items stolen outside of your home may be subject to a lower coverage limit and deductible (the money you pay before your coverage kicks in). Before filing a claim, be sure to weigh the value of the items stolen versus your out-of-pocket costs now and a potential rate increase in the future. It’s also good to check the terms of the credit card you used for your purchases, since certain creditors cover theft.

If you decide to move forward with claims, be sure to do the following:

  • Immediately call and file a police report
  • Take photos of all the damage that occurred
  • Create a detailed list of everything stolen
  • Contact your auto insurance company, along with your home or renters insurance company, to submit the appropriate claims

Perfect your plan for next year with these ‘theft from vehicle’ prevention tips

There’s always a possibility of a car break-in. If you must leave valuable items in your vehicle, we suggest locking them in your trunk or use a blanket to conceal them. You should also avoid parking in dark or secluded areas and always keep your car doors locked.

Consider keeping a file of serial numbers and receipts for high-value items you own such as cell phones, jewelry, bicycles, etc. Having this information available to share with your insurance agent can help speed the claims process along.

Make sure your property is protected by giving us a call at 1-800-258-5101 to review your current home insurance or renters insurance coverage. And while you’re there, compare free quotes on your car insurance.

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