McQuiston: Someone Broke Into My Car … What Does My Auto Insurance Cover?

By ALLEN MCQUISTON
The Jemez Agency

What if someone broke into your vehicle and took whatever was inside? Do you know what your car insurance covers?

If you have comprehensive coverage, your insurance company will most likely pay to repair any damage the burglar has done to your car.
 
Typically, this includes broken windows, damaged locks and dismantled ignition systems. If your vehicle is stolen, your insurer will pay you its value (if you have comprehensive coverage).
 
However, even comprehensive coverage does not pay to replace the belongings taken from within your car. This requires additional insurance coverage: either homeowners or renters insurance.
 
Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage, contrary to its name, doesn’t cover everything including your belongings inside the car. When it comes to replacing cell phones, tablets, iPods, laptop computers, purses and wallets, work tools, and any other items stolen, it’s up to your homeowners or renters insurance to provide that coverage.

This means you’ll need to file two separate claims (and pay two separate deductibles) to obtain a reimbursement for all the damages.  However there are now some car insurance companies that will provide a limited amount of coverage for your personal possessions.  

Also, if you have your car and home insurance with the same company, some companies only charge you one deductible. Check with your insurance professional to see if your policy responds to two claims.

What is covered by Comprehensive Car Insurance?

  • Shattered Windows
  • Broken Locks
  • Stolen Stereo (factory), GPS (factory)
  • Tampered Ignition
  • Car Body Damage (Paint, Locks, Carpet)
  • Airbags
  • Broken Glove Box

What is covered by Renters/Home Insurance?

  • CDs, DVDs
  • Laptop Computer
  • Sports Equipment
  • iPod, iPad, iPhone, or other cell phone
  • Clothes, Expensive Sunglasses, Jewelry
  • Work Tools
  • Purse or Wallet
  • Sound /Video Systems (Stock)

Car break-ins are the most common crime in America. You can deter thieves from breaking into your car by:

  • Always locking the doors of your vehicle
  • Parking in a safe place (controlled access, well lit)
  • Keeping items out of plain sight (such as putting purchases, your GPS or phone charger in the trunk)
  • Reporting suspicious activity, such as someone loitering around your car

What should I do if my car has been broken into? Start with the following:

  • Call 911
  • Don’t touch anything
  • File a police report
  • File a claim with your car insurance carrier if there’s damage to your vehicle
  • Cancel any/all credit and debit cards that may have been stolen

As always, I welcome your feedback at amcquiston@thejemezagency.com.
For more insurance related columns, visit our blog on our website www.thejemezagency.com.

We are having a weekly drawing to give away 2 tickets to the Reel Deal movie theater to one of our loyal clients.  It’s our way of saying thanks to the folks of Los Alamos for over 50 years of their support.

This week’s winner is Gerald Hale. Please stop by our office to pick up your tickets.

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