Car break-ins rank among the most common crimes in the United States, and it's good to know that your auto insurance has you covered in the event that this happens to you. However, there are certain limits to what car insurance will and will not cover in the event that someone breaks into your vehicle.
What it comes down to is that your auto insurance will cover your car. Here's what that means:
- Broken windows
- Broken locks
- Stolen and damaged stock equipment such as your stereo or GPS
- Damages to the ignition due to tampering
- Cosmetic damages such as paint and carpets
- Discharged airbags
- Broken interior such as glove box
- Any aftermarket equipment that you have on your policy, such as custom wheels and deluxe stereo systems
Your car insurance will not cover possessions that are inside the car at the time of the break-in, but not technically part of the car. This means that if you leave your laptop in your auto and it is stolen in a break-in, your car insurance will not cover it. The same goes for other valuables like expensive clothing or sunglasses, iPads and phones, your wallet or purse and so on.
However, your renters or homeowners insurance may have you covered in this event, as long as those items are covered on that policy. You always want to keep your inventory up to date with your homeowners or renters insurer. Even if you live in a safe area where break-ins are rare, you may still have your possessions stolen from your car while out and about.
This, of course, leaves one area with little protection — that being new purchases. If you're out Christmas shopping and the items are stolen from the car, there may be very little that can be done to compensate you for the losses. For this reason, you generally don't want to leave uninsured, newly-purchased items in your car unattended for too long. Locking them in the trunk may help you to avoid tempting any would-be thieves, but if you have new video game systems, Blu-rays and designer clothes in the car waiting to be wrapped, your best course of action is generally going to be to try to get them tucked away at home as soon as you can.