Typically, comprehensive coverage includes broken windows, damaged locks and dismantled ignition systems. If your vehicle is stolen, your insurer will pay you its actual cash value through your comprehensive coverage.
However, comprehensive coverage does not pay to replace belongings taken from within your car. This requires another type of insurance coverage: either renters insurance or homeowners insurance.
Does comprehensive coverage cover break-ins and vandalism?
Comprehensive coverage includes replacement or repairs to your vehicle if it's stolen or damaged in an incident that's not a collision. It also covers broken windows in the event of a break-in. The following are covered by comprehensive coverage:
- Shattered windows
- Broken locks
- Tampered ignition
- Cosmetic damage (paint, carpet)
Although state laws don't require comprehensive coverage, it may be a good idea to add it if you live in a high-crime area. Comprehensive coverage can protect you if your car is vandalized or stolen.
What does comprehensive coverage exclude?
Although comprehensive insurance covers many different types of damage and situations, it excludes personal items and aftermarket components.
Stolen aftermarket car stereos and accessories
If you have aftermarket components, speak with an insurance agent to make sure that your policy covers these items. Comprehensive coverage usually doesn't cover aftermarket or custom parts in your vehicle. You may be able to purchase additional coverage for custom parts. Progressive's custom parts and equipment (CPE) coverage, for example, covers car stereo upgrades and anything else that wasn't originally installed by the manufacturer. Progressive's comprehensive coverage does cover any equipment valued at $1,000 or less. Equipment that is worth over $1,000 requires CPE coverage.
Does car insurance cover theft of personal items?
Car insurance doesn't cover stolen personal items. However, renters and home insurance can cover stolen belongings such as laptops, iPads, cell phones, jewelry and purses or wallets. This means that you may need to file two separate claims to be reimbursed for all of the damages if your car needs any repairs.
Does minimum car insurance cover a break-in?
Minimum car insurance usually doesn't protect you from break-ins. Most states require you to have at least liability coverage, which covers property damage and injuries you cause to other people. If you just have liability insurance, you likely won't be protected against theft and a stolen car. Full coverage, which includes comprehensive and collision insurance, is not required by state laws, but it can offer protection if your vehicle is vandalized or broken into.
Should you file a claim for a car break-in?
If you have comprehensive insurance and want to file a claim, you'll likely have to pay a deductible. Filing a claim may not be worth it if the repair costs are close to your deductible. For example, repairing a single chip on your window can cost under $100. In this case, repairing the window yourself would make more sense due to the deductible you would have to pay, which is usually around $500, and the potential increase in rates if you file a claim. Any time you file a claim, you risk an increase in your insurance rates. If you've filed claims in the last three to five years, it's best to avoid filing another claim.
How to 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.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, 873,080 vehicles were stolen in the U.S. in 2020, which is more than a 9% increase from 2019. To prevent your car from being stolen, be vigilant about keeping your car safe.
What should I do if my car has been broken into?
If your car has been broken into, follow these steps:
- Call 911. If you're going to file a claim with your insurance company, they may require you to file a police report.
- Document the scene. Take pictures of the area and take notes of what was stolen and damaged. This will help you when you file a claim.
- File a claim with your car insurance carrier if there's damage to your vehicle. Your insurance rates might go up at renewal time after you file a claim. When deciding whether or not to file a claim, you should take into account the deductible you would have to pay before you get the claim amount.
- Cancel any credit and debit cards that may have been stolen.
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