How to Handle a Car Break In

How to handle a car break in starts by contacting the police. However, there are no personal auto insurance options to cover belongings in your car, these items should be listed on your homeowners policy.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State...

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Reviewed byJoel Ohman
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UPDATED: Jul 7, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There are no personal auto insurance options for coverage of the belongings in your car
  • Comprehensive insurance is coverage that protects your vehicle from theft or damage not caused by a car accident
  • The items in your car should be listed on your homeowners insurance policy

If your car is broken into, your first course of action is to not touch anything and call the police! If you start taking inventory of the possessions in your car, you will make it difficult to impossible for the police to acquire fingerprints or other clues from the vehicle.

What happens when your car is broken into? Once you have filed a police report, then it may be time to call your insurance company. Whether or not this is the case, it depends on upon whether you have the necessary coverage to cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle after it has been broken into.

Many people are under the misconception that their liability insurance covers their vehicle and the belongings inside of their vehicle.

This is not the case, however; liability insurance only covers the damages to other vehicles in an accident that you have caused.

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Is there any auto insurance that covers the belongings in my car?

The bottom line is that there are no personal auto insurance options for coverage of the belongings in your car. You must have homeowners or renters insurance in order to cover these items.

It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of dollars of equipment in your vehicle, if you don’t have personal insurance coverage through a homeowners or renters policy, then the loss isn’t covered.

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What will my car insurance company cover if my car is broken into?

If you have the right kind of insurance, then it will cover the damage made to your car during the break in. The right kind of insurance for this is comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive insurance is a type of coverage that protects your vehicle from theft or damage not caused by a car accident.

Many people are confused when they hear the word theft, believing that this covers the theft of their belongings. Unfortunately, this only covers the actual theft of your car, which still wouldn’t cover any belongings that were in your car.

Why won’t the insurance company cover the theft of my belongings?

The bottom line is that the possibility of items in your car changing regularly is high and as such, you cannot prove what is in your car at any given time.

When you purchase homeowners or renters insurance, you provide your insurance company with a list of items in your home. What’s more, in many cases they require receipts or photos to prove ownership.

When it comes to your car, there is no way for you to update your insurance company every day as to what items you will have in it.

For this reason, those items should be listed on your homeowner’s insurance policy, which will cover the loss in your vehicle.

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How can I prove what items were in my car for the insurance company?

This is a tough one, as you aren’t likely to be keeping an inventory of the belongings in your car for your insurance company. However, in the event of a car break-in, as long as you report the theft to the police, there shouldn’t be any problem making your claim.

If the claim amount is high, then the insurance company may send an adjuster to inventory the items in your home to ensure that you aren’t making a false claim.

It is important that you only claim what was in your car because if you exaggerate about the value or flat out lie, then you are committing fraud.

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I don’t own or rent my house — Is there an alternative insurance coverage for me?

Some car insurance companies do sell riders for your car insurance policy that include the possessions in your car. However, they are only good for up to $1000 and there is typically a $250 deductible.

You cannot get a higher limit, which means if you keep your laptop and your iPhone in your car, you could max out that $1000 with one issue.

The other alternative is to purchase renters insurance, even if you don’t pay rent. Some insurance companies will allow other people in a home to purchase insurance for their belongings, so that is something that you should consider as well.

Business owners do have the alternative of purchasing commercial coverage for vehicles used for work purposes, which does cover the items in a car, but only work-related items.

If your personal laptop, phone, radio, etc. are stolen, then those won’t be covered under the policy.

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