No, car insurance doesn’t cover theft of your belongings.

Let’s say you had money in your glove box, and a thief broke into your car and stole the cash. Or, someone stole a laptop or other valuables from your vehicle. Does car insurance cover the theft of these personal items? No. But you would be covered by home or renters insurance. Here we’ll explain the role insurance plays when items are stolen from a car.

Does car insurance cover stolen items

Car insurance does not cover theft of personal items.

Liability coverage, what the state requires you to have to drive legally, only covers the people you injure and the property you damage. Collision and comprehensive car insurance, if you bought these optional coverages, only cover certain damages to your car, not your personal belongings inside a vehicle.

Collision coverage is for situations where your car hits or is hit by, another vehicle or object. 

Comprehensive coverage does cover a stolen car, but it doesn’t cover loose items that are within your vehicle when it’s stolen. However, if your car’s window was broken or any other damage was done to your vehicle when the person broke into it, those damages should be covered by your comprehensive coverage minus your deductible amount.

Items attached to your vehicle, such as the original stereo system, built-in DVD player or navigation system, are covered by comprehensive coverage if your car is broken into and those items are taken or damaged by the thief. Aftermarket parts, such as rims or a stereo system you had installed normally need to be covered under a custom equipment and parts coverage endorsement for your policy to cover them.

If, however, you leave your laptop, phone, GPS device or cash in your car and it is stolen, then you are unable to make a claim against the comprehensive portion of your car insurance policy for these items because they are not covered by auto insurance.

What kind of insurance covers items stolen from a car

Though car insurance does not cover theft of personal items in your vehicle, your home or renters insurance does. You can file a homeowners or renters insurance claim, but be aware that these come with a deductible, the amount you pay before your insurer pays out. So, it only makes financial sense to file a claim if the value of your stolen possessions exceeds the deductible by a fairly high amount. For example, if a laptop, an Apple Watch and a camera valued at $2,500 were stolen, and your deductible is $1,000, it might make sense to file a claim. You’d get $1,500. But if the value of the stolen goods is closer to the $1,000 deductible you have to pay, it isn’t.

What if my car was stolen and it had personal items in it

Some cities have higher auto theft rates than others, and thieves favor some makes and models more than others. Sometimes your car is stolen because you don’t have anti-theft devices installed, or it just happens out of sheer bad luck or timing. Regardless of the scenario, if your car is stolen with valued possessions inside, you would have to file two separate claims. You’d file a stolen car claim under your comprehensive car insurance and a home insurance claim for the personal items.

— Les Masterson contributed to this story.

author image
Contributing Writer

Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.