Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Auto insurance is traditionally designed to protect your vehicle
  • This falls under your policy’s comprehensive coverage, which only extends to your vehicle in the event of a non-collision related loss
  • This means that your personal possessions may not be protected in the event of a theft
  • Personal belongings that are permanently affixed to your car may be considered part of the car
  • If you affix aftermarket or non-manufacturer belongings to the car, you may need to consider adding an endorsement to your auto policy

Personal belongings are often left in your car when you run an errand, head to a meeting, or grab some lunch with a friend.

However, in the unfortunate event that your car is stolen or broken into, your personal property that was stolen may not be covered.

In the event your personal property is stolen, you may need to refer to your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

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When does your car insurance cover stolen property?

Your car insurance may cover stolen property in specific situations. For instance, if the stolen item is an expensive radio that has been affixed to your vehicle, then your policy may consider this part of the car.

If you carry comprehensive coverage, then your policy will provide coverage to your car for incidents other than collision-related incidents.

This type of coverage varies among insurance providers, meaning you should discuss your concerns with any potential provider.

If you alter your vehicle and add in aftermarket or non-manufacturer parts, it’s important to speak to your provider and let them know.

In some situations, your provider may require an endorsement to extend coverage to your aftermarket upgrades.

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When does your car insurance exclude stolen property?

In most situations, your personal property is not covered under your personal auto policy. This is because your auto policy is designed to provide protection to your car or any damage your car causes, not necessarily your personal items inside.

If you have questions about covering your personal belongings while they are in your car, then you may want to look at your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for protection.

A homeowner’s insurance policy and a renter’s insurance policy are both policies designed to provide protection to your personal belongings in the event of theft, fire, or other disasters.

If your personal property is stolen from your residence, your homeowner’s or renter’s policy would provide coverage for your stolen property.

If your belongings are stolen from your car, your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will normally provide coverage.

Just as auto insurance provides coverage for your car, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance provide coverage to your personal possessions; even when they are outside of the home.

What options do you have to protect yourself?

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Protecting yourself from loss due to stolen property depends on how you plan to store the property within your car.

If you are planning to affix the item or items to your car permanently, then contact your agent to discuss your options. One option that may be available is a policy endorsement.

An endorsement is a policy form that alters the policy provisions of your personal auto policy. For example, if you add an expensive stereo system to your vehicle, then your insurance provider may require you to add this to your policy as an endorsement.

This allows the scope of the basic policy to be extended to provide coverage to the added item.

If you’re worried about protecting the property that you transport back and forth, then your renter’s or homeowner’s policy may be your best option.

While these policies do not provide coverage to your vehicle, they often provide coverage to your personal belongings even when they are not in your residence.

To avoid the financial risk of stolen property, discuss your coverage concerns with your insurance provider.

Options to Protect Your Property

Protecting your personal property is just as important as protecting your car. While your auto insurance policy may not provide protection in most situations, there are other policy options available to protect your property.

If you have questions about the level of coverage offered by your auto, renter’s, or homeowner’s insurance policy, your insurance provider can discuss your coverage with you further.

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