It’s a scenario that strikes fear in many of us: You go to bed one evening and wake up to see that your driver side window has been shattered and all your belongings inside have been stolen. So how does your insurance work in a situation like this?
How car insurance responds when your car is broken into
Damage to your car would fall under the car insurance policy and only in regard to one specific coverage, comprehensive (sometimes called other than collision).
Among many things, comprehensive coverage also covers vandalism. And this would clearly be a case of vandalism. Comprehensive is subject to a deductible, so it’s best to get an estimate of the damage to see if there’s enough for a claim. For example, your comprehensive deductible is $500. The damage is only $750. You may decide to NOT turn in the claim since it’s not much more than the deductible.
One other note: custom sound systems are often popular in vehicles and an item thieves LOVE to steal. These are sound systems that did NOT come with the vehicle but were installed at a later time. Most car insurance policies are designed to cover the vehicle as it comes from the manufacturer. After market stereos are usually not covered, or if they are, will depend solely on how they’re mounted in the vehicle. So, check with your agent, so you’re not surprised at claim time! If you need coverage, it can be added for an additional premium.
OK, so we’ve discussed the damage to the car and how insurance would step in. What about the items that were stolen?
Unfortunately, car insurance is not designed to cover anything that is NOT related to the vehicle. So personal items such as a purse, bookbag or other household possessions are NOT covered. To get coverage for these items, you need to look to your homeowners (or renters) insurance.
How home insurance responds when your car is broken into
Regardless of whether you have a homeowners policy, a renters policy or condo policy, all three have Coverage C- Personal Property. What’s personal property? I always say to people “If you turn your house or apartment upside down, it’s what falls out”.
MOST homeowners policies extend coverage to personal property outside of the home. So your personal items that were in your car? Covered! (when in doubt, ask your agent!)
Personal property is subject to a deductible, so you’ll need to tally up what you lost to see if it’s worth it to file a claim. And some types of personal property have amount limitations as well (for example, jewelry often is limited to $1000).
So what’s the final outcome?
In a situation like this, it’s entirely possible you’ll have TWO claims from the same incident. One for the car damage and the other for the stolen items.
That also means two deductibles.
Again, most people decide whether or not to file a claim based on the total damage amount. I would say there is usually more $ damage to the vehicle, than $ amount stolen, so the car insurance claim is more likely to get filed (broken glass, body damage, etc.).
In summary, comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy will cover the vandalism/theft damage. Homeowners insurance will handle the stolen personal items.
For additional information about car insurance claims, feel free to check out our extensive library of auto insurance claims blog posts. We answer many of your most common questions about auto insurance claims!
Questions? Don’t take chances with your next insurance claim……Call us or fill out our contact form. We’re happy to help you get the car or home insurance you need. You can also request your quote.