Will Renters Insurance Cover a Car Break-In?

Renters insurance covers your stuff in a car after a break-in but not the car. This can lead to some coverage confusion.

If your car gets broken into or stolen, your renters insurance will cover your personal property in the car at the time of the break-in and theft. But renters insurance doesn't cover your actual car for theft. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, it should cover the damages after the break-in of your vehicle.

As with most personal property stolen outside your rental home, there will probably be a lower payout limit on any of your belongings that were in the car at the time it was broken into. This article will cover:

Will renters insurance cover my stolen car?

Renters insurance does not cover car theft under any circumstances. While you may consider your car to be personal property, it doesn't fall under your renters insurance personal property coverage parameters, in part because automobiles have their own type of insurance for instances of theft that you can purchase.

Renters insurance coverage limits after car theft

A standard renters insurance policy covers:

  • Personal property against theft, vandalism, damage or destruction.
  • Liability in the event of you being the cause of injury or property damage.
  • Additional living expenses should you have to relocate for covered reasons.

Personal property coverage is the section of your renters insurance that comes into play after car theft. Your policy should cover your belongings, along with those of any other individual on your policy, that were in the vehicle at the time the break-in occurred.

With personal property outside your rental home at the time of theft, standard renters insurance policies usually have a coverage limit that is less than the regular personal property limit. This limit is usually either 10% of your policy's personal property limit or a dollar limit amount designated by the insurer.

With valuables such as jewelry, antiques or furs, a renters insurance policy will also have a coverage limit on personal property that is less than the standard limit. This limit is usually somewhere around $1,000 to $1,500 per item. If you have large collections of valuables such as these, you may want to consider getting an add-on endorsement to cover your expensive belongings for their full value.

Renters insurance vs. car insurance coverage after car theft

In simple terms, renters insurance will cover your personal belongings that are stolen, while comprehensive auto insurance will cover the car theft itself.

Still, there may be some misunderstandings on what theft or damage is covered by what insurance type. The following examples can help clarify both renters and auto insurance points of coverage after a theft:

Your car window is broken and your laptop is stolen: Your renters insurance would cover the replacement of your computer up to your policy limits. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, it will cover the costs of the window repair up to that policy's limits.

Your driver's license or other documents are stolen: If your driver's license, credit cards or other personal documents are stolen from your car, a standard renters insurance will not cover identity theft. Most renters insurance companies offer riders you can purchase that can help with the costs of replacing the stolen documents. This includes notarization, certification of letters to credit bureaus and any other costs associated with the replacement process.

Your friend's stuff was stolen from the car: Coverage when someone else's personal property is in your car at the time of its theft does not have a straight answer. It often depends on if it was your negligence that caused the theft. If you were at fault, the liability portion of your renters insurance would cover the replacement of their belongings.

If you were not negligent at the time of the theft, your friend's personal property probably won't be covered under your renters insurance. However, if they have a renters insurance policy, they can file a claim against their own coverage to replace their stolen belongings.

Custom car add-ons: Any aftermarket additions to your car will not be covered by your renters insurance in the event of theft. A dash cam may seem like it would be personal property because it's not a stock part of your car, but you would need comprehensive auto insurance to get any coverage for its theft.

Personal property stolen from a rental car: You don't have to own the car that was broken into to have your belongings covered. Renters insurance personal property coverage will compensate you for your stuff if your rental car is broken into or stolen.

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