If the sight of broken glass around your vehicle fills you with dread, then discovering that your valuables are long gone can provoke feelings of anger and a sudden sense of vulnerability. Vehicle break-ins happen more often than you'd think—according to recent statistics, approximately 1.85 million such thefts occur each year, resulting in the theft of $1.255 billion in personal items.
When your personal belongings are stolen from your car, you might think your auto insurance will take care of the loss. However, that's not exactly the case. In a surprise twist, you may end up using your homeowners insurance coverage to cover your losses. The following explains how both policies handle the aftermath of a vehicle break-in.
What Your Auto Insurance Policy Covers
One of the most common misconceptions surrounding auto insurance policies in cases of vehicle break-ins is that they not only cover the damage caused to your vehicle during the break-in, but they also cover anything that's stolen inside of the vehicle. However, this isn't entirely accurate. Under most circumstances, your auto insurance policy will only cover items that are clearly a part of your vehicle.
But first, you'll need comprehensive coverage as a part of your auto insurance policy if you want your insurance provider to pay for the damage to your vehicle. Having liability coverage alone means you'll have to take care of the damages out of your own pocket.
Your comprehensive coverage may only apply to factory equipment present at the time of the vehicle's manufacture. For instance, if someone steals your car stereo, your comprehensive coverage will replace it as long as it was a factory unit. Aftermarket systems usually aren't covered unless you purchase specific coverage for them.
If someone steals your laptop, tablet, or music player from your vehicle, even if it was plugged into a charging port or auxiliary jack in your vehicle, you won't be able to replace it under your comprehensive coverage. After all, these items didn't come with your vehicle when it rolled off the factory floor, nor are they covered by other aspects of your auto insurance policy.
What Your Home Insurance Policy Covers
Most people don't expect their homeowners or renters insurance policy to cover items they carry with them on a daily basis. However, these items are usually covered under your policy's personal property coverage. While this coverage protects your personal items from various known perils at home, it also protects them if a theft occurs away from home.
In essence, whatever's stolen from your vehicle that isn't covered by your auto insurance policy will be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance policy instead. This also means you'll have to deal with making two separate claims—one with your auto insurance provider and another with your homeowners or renters insurance provider—unless you have both policies with the same insurance provider.
Another downside is that these items may be subject to a lower coverage limit than items that are always kept inside your home. If you carry around an expensive laptop or anything else of high value in your vehicle, you should consider scheduled personal property coverage for additional protection. There may also be other coverage options to consider, depending on the type of items you carry in your vehicle on a regular basis.
Insurance claims, whether they're for your car or home, can be frustratingly complicated at times. Having a seasoned agent walk you through the claims process can work wonders for making an otherwise stressful event in your life a bit less stressful. To learn more, contact a company like Phillip R Davis Insurance.