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 University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Jun 5, 2019

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There are many questions about what is covered by your car insurance policy, and the answers are sometimes surprising. While you may have insurance coverage that pays for your vehicle if it is stolen, most car insurance policies do not cover you when items are stolen out of your vehicle.

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However, there is coverage that can pay for your items stolen from your vehicle, and it comes from an unlikely source; you just need to make sure you have a certain clause as part of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to ensure that items stolen from your vehicle will be covered.

There is even an option for protecting your valuables when you are renting a car.

Of course, it is always a good idea to try to minimize your risk in the first place. Being the victim of theft is never a desirable event, so it is best to try to avoid it as much as possible.

What Car Insurance Will Cover

Car insurance is broken into two parts: liability for others’ injuries and damages and coverage for damages caused by your vehicle. While coverage for damages to your vehicle may include possessions that are a fixed part of your car, such as an expensive or new stereo system, it does not cover your possessions that happen to be in your car, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Your car insurance’s liability coverage will pay for injuries you cause and damages to vehicles and surrounding property you cause in an accident. Collision and comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your vehicle from an accident regardless of fault, theft, vandalism, or natural occurrence such as hitting a deer or hail damage.

While your comprehensive coverage will cover your losses if your car is stolen, it does not include coverage for your personal belongings that might be stolen out of your vehicle. While this may seem contrary to common sense that something stolen out of your vehicle is not covered by your auto insurance policy, such possessions are not regular parts of your vehicle. They are not covered.

Your possessions that might be stolen out of your car or truck are actually covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy. As part of your overall possessions or things you own, like those found in a home, they can be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.

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Homeowner’s Policy Coverage

What will cover your belongings that are stolen out of your vehicle is your homeowner’s insurance policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Generally, this coverage is provided by the off-premises coverage clause of your policy. This clause covers your home possessions even when they are off-premises, or outside of the home. Usually, off-premise can be anywhere in the world.

You need to make sure that you have not opted out of this part of your homeowner’s insurance policy in order to save money. If you have opted out, then there will be no insurance coverage to turn to in order to recoup your loss. If you have opted out, make sure to opt back in as soon as possible. You also need to check your policy for other restrictions or limits on the payout amount.

Generally, you will be required to file a stolen items report with the police to have proof for your homeowner’s insurance provider.

It is also a good idea to remember that filing a stolen items report for things that actually were not stolen constitutes fraud, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

You may also need to have proof of purchase for the item or some other declaration of the item’s worth, to prove that you in fact owned such an item. You also need to check your policy to see if a deductible applies, because your deductible might be more than the worth of the stolen item.

Renter’s Insurance

Those who do not own a home can get the same coverage from a Renter’s Insurance Policy. This type of policy is a good idea to have in order to protect your belongings from theft or fire as a renter. It is generally very inexpensive insurance, and most car insurance providers offer renter’s insurance as well.

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, there are two different types of renter’s coverage. One will only cover named perils and the other is known as an all-risk policy. If you go with a named perils policy, you will need to specifically include off-premises coverage for items you keep in your vehicle.

Both types of renter’s insurance include a maximum amount they will pay, and some might also include a deductible.

Generally, your renter’s insurance policy will cover the cost of the stolen items minus the deductible. Again, it is important to weigh the cost of the item against your deductible and the effects to your premium for filing a claim.

In a Rental Car

If you are renting a vehicle, you have the option of buying personal effects coverage to cover loss of personal possessions that might be stolen out of your rental car. This option is available to those who don’t have coverage through a homeowner’s insurance policy or renter’s insurance policy.

While you might be covered against such loss through a homeowner’s insurance policy or a renter’s insurance policy, it might be a good idea to purchase personal effects coverage if you a traveling with high-dollar possessions or to areas with high rates of theft. Generally, personal effects coverage only costs a few dollars a day, and you will not have to pay your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy deductible if you suffer a loss.

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Other Options

While it won’t help recoup your loses after the fact, you can purchase replacement cell phone insurance to protect yourself against theft and accidental damage before a loss. This type of protection is generally very inexpensive, costing around $5 a month.

This coverage usually also includes a deductible that can be between $50 and $100, but you don’t have as large a deductible as you might with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies. Furthermore, you will also be covered from accidental damage, such as from dropping your cell phone or getting it wet, in addition to coverage from loss and theft.

Making a claim for a stolen cell phone from this type of insurance also will not affect your premiums. Unfortunately, making claims is one of those acts that can raise your homeowner or renter’s insurance premiums.

Lower Your Risk

It is always a good idea to try to lower your risk of having to make a claim for a loss, no matter what kind of insurance it is. Homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance policies operate in the same way. The lower your risk of making a claim, the lower your premiums will be. An added bonus is that you will also have less of a chance of having to go through the absolute pain in the neck of having something stolen out of your home or car.

First, you should always lock your home and your vehicle, even when your car is parked in your driveway or you are home. A lock is one more obstacle that thieves have to overcome to steal from you. Don’t make it easy for them by leaving your car or your home unlocked. Parking your car in a locked garage is the best option; this can also lower your car insurance rates.

Investing in an alarm system for both your home and your vehicle is always a good idea. Besides being a great deterrent for thieves, an alarm can also get you a discount from your homeowner’s insurer and auto insurance company. Furthermore, a car alarm and a house alarm can also deter those who intend worse harm than just stealing items from your home or car.

Always try to use light to your advantage, both in your home and your car. Always park your vehicle in well-lit, well-travelled areas. Choose monitored parking garages with security guards if it is an option and you can afford it. In the same vein, using outdoor lighting to light up your home and surrounding property can work as a deterrent to thieves. Indoor lighting works just as well, so try to utilize timers that turn on indoor lights and appliances such as the television.

Lastly, try not to leave valuables in your car. Most car thieves can break into your vehicle and be gone with your valuables in a matter of mere seconds. You will left with insurance claims to file, police reports to make and the horrible feeling of being violated by your fellow human being. Your best bet is to try to reduce your risk by not storing any valuables in your vehicle if you can help it.

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