If your car is broken into or stolen, your renters insurance will cover personal property that was in the car at the time of the break-in or theft. Your renters insurance won't cover the car itself in these situations, though. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, it should cover damage done to your car due to the break-in.
This article covers:
How does renters insurance cover a car break-in or theft?
A standard renters insurance policy covers:
- Personal property against theft, vandalism, damage or destruction.
- Liability in the event you cause injury or property damage.
- Additional living expenses if you have to relocate for covered reasons.
The personal property coverage portion of your renters insurance policy is what will help you after a car break-in. Your renters policy should cover your belongings, along with those of any other individual on your policy, that were in the vehicle when the break-in occurred.
Something to keep in mind in this situation is that most standard renters insurance policies put a coverage limit on personal property that’s outside your rental unit. This coverage limit usually is less than the regular personal property limit on a policy – often either 10% of your policy's personal property limit or a dollar limit amount designated by the insurer.
The same is true when it comes to valuable belongings like jewelry, antiques or furs. Most renters insurance policies place a coverage limit on such personal property that is less than the standard limit. This limit is typically $1,000 to $1,500 per item. If you have large collections of valuables, you should 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 covers your personal belongings that are stolen, while comprehensive auto insurance covers the car itself.
Beyond that, the following examples should help clarify what kind of theft or damage is covered by which insurance type:
Your car window is broken and your laptop is stolen
Your renters insurance will cover the replacement of your stolen computer up to your policy limits. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, it will cover the cost 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. That said, most renters insurance companies offer riders you can purchase that will help cover the cost 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 belongings are stolen from your car
Whether your renters insurance covers someone else’s personal property that was in your car at the time of a break-in or theft depends on if negligence played a role.
If your negligence caused the theft, the liability portion of your renters insurance policy would cover the replacement of your friend’s belongings. If you were not negligent, your renters insurance policy probably won’t cover your friend's personal property. However, if they have renters insurance of their own, they can file a claim against their policy to replace their stolen belongings.
Custom add-ons are stolen from your car
Renters insurance won’t cover any aftermarket additions that are stolen from your car. A dash cam may seem like personal property because it's not a stock part of your car, but you need comprehensive auto insurance to get any coverage for its theft.
Your personal property is stolen from a rental car
You don't have to own the car that is broken into for your belongings to be covered. Renters insurance personal property coverage will compensate you for your stuff if your rental car is broken into or stolen, too.
|Result of break-in||What renters insurance covers||What auto insurance covers|
|Your car window is broken and your laptop is stolen.||Covers the replacement of your computer up to your policy limits.||Covers window-repair costs up to your policy limits if you have comprehensive coverage.|
|Your driver's license or other documents are stolen from your car.||May help cover the costs of replacing the stolen documents, if you have certain riders.||Provides no coverage for this situation.|
|A friend's belongings are stolen from your car.||If your negligence caused the theft, the liability portion of your renters insurance should cover the replacement of their belongings.||Provides no coverage for this situation.|
|Custom add-ons are stolen from your car.||Provides no coverage for this situation.||Covers the replacement of stolen aftermarket additions to your car if you have comprehensive coverage.|
|Your personal property is stolen from a rental car.||Provides the same coverage whether you own the car that’s broken into or you’re renting it.||Provides no coverage for this situation.|
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 policy’s personal property coverage parameters. This is because automobiles have their own type of insurance for instances of theft that you can purchase.
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