September 15, 2011

Why Personal Property Is Not Covered By Comprehensive Car Insurance

A car insurance policy can provide great protection for drivers after an accident, car theft or other loss. However, car insurance coverage rarely covers any type of personal property, and many drivers only discover this after filing a claim. Even comprehensive coverage doesn't provide protection from personal property loss. Car insurance for personal property is usually limited to equipment that is permanently installed on a vehicle, such as an expensive stereo system. Auto insurance companies are notorious for refusing all other property loss claims, and many drivers wonder why this is the case and how to protect their property when driving.

Auto insurance providers refuse property loss claims because they can't realistically track the value of the items in a driver's vehicle. They would have to charge much more for their policies in order to offer any type of property protection and they would have to completely revise the actuarial statistics that they use to calculate drivers' premiums. It's simply financially infeasible, so they restrict their coverage to the vehicle and items that are permanently installed on the vehicle. A driver's comprehensive coverage will usually pay for damage to a car stereo, a built-in GPS or anything else that can't be easily removed from the car, although proof of installation and value may be required for a payout on these types of personal property.

Cars that are heavily modified can also be protected through a separate insurance add-on coverage called custom parts and equipment coverage (often abbreviated CPE). CPE coverage can add $10,000 or more of protection to car modifications, but even with CPE coverage, loose personal items in a vehicle won't be protected. There aren't really any auto insurance programs that offer car insurance for personal property if that property isn't physically a part of a vehicle.

There are ways to get insurance coverage for personal property in a vehicle, but such programs are rarely available through auto insurance providers. Drivers who have lost property in a car insurance claim should check with their homeowners' or renters' insurance companies, as these types of insurance will usually cover personal property losses from a vehicle, regardless of where the vehicle was parked. Business insurance might cover items in an auto that are used primarily for business. Drivers who frequently keep expensive property in their vehicles should check with these types of insurance providers to make sure that their property is well protected, and should be sure to understand how their deductibles will work if a claim is ever filed. This is the best way to protect property from losses due to car theft or an accident.