Your Pizza's Covered but What About the Stuff in Your Car?

Fran Majidi
October 16, 2019

Most pizza shops these days will replace your pizza if they deliver it to you looking a mess. And that’s great. A quick return for a freshly made pie without the toppings stuck to the top of the box. Domino’s Pizza even offers Carryout Insurance so you can return your pie if it’s damaged after you leave the store. Yes, even if the damage happens while in your hands, they will compensate you with a fresh pizza.

So, let’s say you are driving home and someone cuts you off and you have to slam on the brakes. Your pizza may not make it, but it’s covered. But what about the laptop in your backseat that didn’t fare so well? What if it broke?

All this leads to the big question, Is my stuff in the car ever covered by insurance? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that it’s not insured by your auto insurance, like you may have thought. Your stuff is covered by homeowners insurance and renters insurance. Yes, even when it’s in your car, sometimes when you’re out and not even using your car, like your bicycle that got stolen.

Does Car Insurance Cover the Theft of Personal Items?

Vandals and thieves will steal things in your car or break things looking for valuable possessions. If your car was vandalized or broken into and you notice a missing child seat, a missing purse, phone or wallet, your auto insurance won’t cover your loss. No, comprehensive insurance won’t touch it either. However, if the damage was done to your car’s interior, the ignition system, or if the glass was broken, comprehensive would cover it. If you only have liability coverage, you’re out of luck and will have to pay for damages to your car on your own. The same goes for car theft. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as car theft insurance either. If your car was stolen, only comprehensive insurance would cover the vehicle’s value.

As for the missing items that were in your car prior to the break-in or theft, you’re covered for these stolen items if you file a claim with your homeowners insurance or your renters insurance. Note that in order to get payment for your losses, you will be subject to your home insurance or renters insurance deductible, which you chose when you purchased the policy. If you have deductibles for auto and home insurance, you usually have to pay the higher of the deductibles.

What Should I Do If My Car Was Broken Into?

Call the police and don’t touch anything. The first thing you need to do is file a police report. Even before you do this, however, you need to take stock of what was taken. Write up an inventory of things that were stolen.

Check the car thoroughly to see what you may not have noticed upon first glance: Were your license plates or tires were stolen? How about the rims or catalytic converters? If your license plates were stolen, you need to report that right away or else you may end up being held responsible for tickets and toll rides taken by the thief.

After you have a copy of the police report, file your car insurance claim and your home insurance or renters insurance claim.

If someone else’s belongings were stolen out of your car, they would have to file a claim with their own insurance company (again, renters or homeowners) if it’s even worthwhile for them to do so.

How Personal Property Coverage Protects You Against Theft

It’s the personal property coverage in homeowners or renters insurance policy that covers you against theft of personal belongings in a car. This portion of your home insurance covers things typically kept at home, like furniture, clothing, phone, other electronics, and even your bike. In fact, this coverage follows you. What that means is that the personal property coverage will cover those same items if they were stolen from you when you were not home or if you left them in your car before it was stolen.

Do keep in mind that you will likely have a lower coverage limit for belongings that were stolen out of your car or if your bike was chained up away from home before being stolen.

Tips About Filing a Claim

Before you file a claim with your renters or homeowners insurance, consider whether or not it’s worth your time to do so. Considering that you have to pay the deductible and the likelihood that your insurance rate will increase, you may be better off just absorbing the loss yourself if it adds up to $500 or less.

Tips About Homeowners, Renters and Auto Insurance

It’s important to understand your coverages better so you can judge what kind of insurance you need to buy and at what limits. For instance, if you know you’ll be golfing regularly and that your golf clubs may pose an additional risk, you may want to find out if they’ll be covered by your home or renters insurance and how much of it will be covered. Sometimes, buying an endorsement for pricier equipment will allow you to claim more on your belongings.

It’s important to have a trustworthy and dependable agent that can guide you through the process of protecting yourself with insurance. You should also never pay too much for any of your insurance policies. Comparison shopping car insurance, for instance, may take hours unless you compare with us. Start by entering your zip code below!

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