January 26, 2010

When Items Stolen From Your Car Aren’t Covered

Vehicles get broken into quite often leaving people unsure and angry. It’s a troubling experience that people shouldn’t have to go through, but unfortunately, they do. Your privacy has been invaded, your personal belongings are gone and you’re stuck to clean up the mess.

The first step is to make a claim on your auto insurance policy and fix the damage as quickly and possible. But the tricky and at times frustrating part is figuring out what items your auto insurance will actually cover in this already tough time.

Common Items Stolen From Vehicles:

Most break-ins occur because a burglar will spot valuable items inside a vehicle. Some common items stolen include: Car stereos, cell phones, CDs, laptops, small electronics, MP3 players and wallets or purses.

Many times people are unsure about which items are covered on their auto insurance policy.

What Most Auto Insurance Policies Will Cover:

With most auto insurance policies, damages due to theft will be covered under your comprehensive coverage. After the break-in, check your auto insurance policy to see if you have comprehensive coverage. This will tell you what items are covered in the event of a theft.

In most cases, only car stereos will be covered by your auto insurance, and you can’t even always count on that being covered. This happens because most stereos are made so the unit can be detached from your car; in other words, it’s not considered part of your car. This also explains why the other items are not considered part of the car, since they are not physically attached to it. All your other items will most likely be covered by your homeowners (or renters) insurance policy.

If the thief breaks a window, scratches your door, breaks the lock or does any other damage to the car itself, the damage will be covered under your comprehensive coverage if it’s on your policy. With comprehensive coverage, all you’ll need to do is pay your deductible and your insurance company will pay for the remaining amount of damage.

Avoid Being the Victim of a Burglary:

There are a few steps you can do to prevent someone from breaking into your vehicle. The biggest thing would be to install an alarm system. They can be quite expensive, but in the long run, it’s an investment worth making. Next, always keep the doors locked and windows closed, even if you’re just running into your house for a second.

Don’t leave any valuable items (purse, cell phone, wallet, keys, etc.) out in the open. It is best to leave them in your glove box.

Just a few simple steps can prevent you from having to deal with the aftermath of someone breaking into your car.