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  • Writer's picturePauline Handy

Does Your Auto Insurance Cover Theft of Personal Items from Your Vehicle?

Updated: Jun 19, 2023


Masked man robbing vehicle

A vehicle break-in can happen when you least expect it, even in your own neighborhood. Approaching your car and seeing shattered glass from a broken window is unsettling and scary. You’re left dealing with vehicle damage and the emotional toll of having your personal belongings rifled through and stolen.


Auto insurance doesn’t cover personal property

Regardless of your vehicle type or where you park, there’s always the chance of a break-in. But you may be surprised to learn items stolen out of your vehicle are not covered under your auto insurance, such as:

  • Laptops

  • Phones

  • Wallets and purses

  • Sports equipment

  • Laundry or clothing

  • Jewelry

  • Watches

  • Firearms

If someone breaks into your car, comprehensive auto insurance will cover damage to your vehicle. But if you have a collision-only auto policy, your insurance will not cover the damage to your car. (A smashed window is not considered damage sustained by a collision, so it’s not covered.)


Auto insurance won’t cover items stolen from a motor vehicle unless their operation relies solely on power generated by the vehicle, like a built-in stereo system.


Aftermarket auto parts and accessories need additional protection


Aftermarket parts, such as rims or a stereo system installed after purchase, need to be covered under a custom parts and equipment (CPE) endorsement to your auto policy.

CPE coverage is available through most auto insurers for an added cost. It covers custom paint jobs and grilles, navigation systems, car stereo upgrades and anything else the original manufacturer did not install.


Home or renters insurance covers your personal property


When thieves pillage the personal belongings in your vehicle, turn to your home or renters insurance policy for help. Most policies “cover personal property owned or used by an insured while it is anywhere in the world” as off-premises coverage. Off-premises is your property located at residences other than your primary residence. Home and renters insurance limits apply at 10% of your personal property limits. If your home or renters policy covers your personal belongings at $75,000, you’ll have $7500 in personal belongings coverage for items off-premises.


Remember that “special limits of liability” are usually capped at $2500 and apply to items like:

  • Jewelry

  • Collections

  • Art

  • Firearms

  • Electronics

You’d need extra insurance to cover these items beyond the policy’s capped values. Talk to your insurance agent about the terms of your specific policy.


How to deter car break-ins


Here are a few safety tips to deter thieves:

  • Don’t keep valuables in your car.

  • Don’t leave objects in your car overnight. If you must, conceal them.

  • Park in well-lit areas whenever possible.

  • Keep your car locked with the windows rolled up.

  • Never leave your car unattended if it’s running.

  • Cover or detach your GPS or upgraded stereo system.

  • Install a car alarm on your vehicle.

  • Park your car in a secure garage rather than a driveway or street.

A car break-in can rattle you emotionally. Plus, you have the financial costs of repairing your vehicle and replacing your stolen valuables.


Don’t risk making a bad situation worse by not having the appropriate coverage for all your things. Contact a reputable and knowledgeable insurance agent to make sure you’re protected properly.


Contact an insurance professional at V.F. McNeil Insurance today (203) 483.2988. We are happy to answer any of your auto insurance and homeowner's insurance questions.

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