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Someone Broke Into My Car. What Does My Auto Insurance Cover?

Car break-ins are the most common crime in America. Learn what your insurance will and will not cover if someone breaks into your car.

image of car broken into with broken window

What if someone broke into your vehicle and took whatever was inside? Do you know what your 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 renters insurance or homeowners insurance.

If you have auto insurance but don’t have renters or homeowners insurance, let QuoteWizard connect you with licensed insurance agents so you can be protected for less.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage, contrary to its name, doesn't cover loose 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.

What is Covered by Comprehensive Car Insurance?

    Car Insurance
  • Shattered Windows
  • Broken Locks
  • Stolen Stereo (Stock), GPS (Stock)
  • Tampered Ignition
  • Cosmetic Damage (Paint, Locks, Carpet)
  • Airbags
  • Broken Glove Box
  • Aftermarket Stereos, GPS System, Custom Wheels
    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
  • Video Systems (Stock)

The cost of comprehensive car insurance coverage can vary dramatically from company to company. Compare quotes to find the best rates on comprehensive coverage.

Stolen Aftermarket Car Stereos and Accessories

If you have aftermarket components, a GPS, or upgraded stereo system, it's crucial to speak with an agent to make sure that your policy covers these items. Many policies only cover things that attach permanently to your car, so electronic items that are easily removable may not be covered.

Protect Yourself from a Car Break In

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

At QuoteWizard, we connect you with home and auto insurance agents that can bundle a truly comprehensive policy. It's stressful dealing with a break in, but even more so if you find out that your auto insurance won't replace the stolen items.

Learn more about home insurance or renters insurance and how you can protect yourself in the event of theft.

Q: What should I do if my car has been broken into?

A: 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

Q: Will my rates go up if I file a claim after my car is broken into?

A: Depends. Please see our article on Minor Accidents for more information

Does car insurance cover broken windows?

A: Yes, however, you may want to price out repairs before making a claim. If the repair cost is below, at or just above your deductible amount, you may want to consider paying for the repairs yourself.

Q: My friend’s car was broken into and some of my stuff was taken. Whose insurance pays?

A: Personal items in a car aren’t covered by auto insurance. If you have renters or homeowner’s insurance, then you can file a claim for your items. Depending on the stolen items and your deductible, it may or may not be in your best interest to file the claim. Be sure the amount you’ll be claiming is higher than the amount of your deductible as your renters or homeowner’s insurance premium may go up after you file the claim.

Q: My car was broken into at work. Does my employer have to pay?

A: No. It’s not possible in the eyes of the law to hold one party accountable for the actions of another unless the 1st party is somehow negligent and the act is a direct result of their negligence. Parking is an “at your own risk” activity.

Q: Does liability insurance cover theft of items left in car?

A: Liability car insurance only covers damage caused by your car.

Q: I left my car with the dealership for repairs and it was broken into. Are they responsible?

A: In general, no, they aren’t responsible. Most dealerships have signs posted asking customers to remove any personal items from their car and state they’re not responsible for damages or thefts.

Having said that, if you have evidence that proves liability, then you may have a case for getting money from the dealership to compensate for the damage. Proving liability is tricky. You’ll need to prove that they had previous break-ins, knew about it, and did nothing to prevent the problem from happening again. And you’ll need to file a police report to document the damage.

Q: How often are cars stolen in the United States?

A: According to FBI statistics for 2013, a car theft occurred every 45 seconds in the U.S.

Q: How many cars were stolen in 2013 in the United States?

A: The FBI estimates there were nearly 700,000 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide in 2013.

Get a quote from top companies that insure the contents of your car from break-ins and theft.


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