Just a few shopping days left before Christmas. Don’t let your car become a shopping mall for crooks. Auto break-ins spike over holidays. Every year, over $1.25 billion in personal property is stolen from America’s vehicles, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Most of it is never recovered. Adding insult to injury, while your car insurance will cover any damage to your vehicle after deductible, most basic car insurance policies don’t cover personal property losses. However, your homeowners insurance or renters insurance may.
You’ll have to read your homeowner’s policy for exclusions, but some policies do insure personal property that is temporarily out of your home. Others let you purchase additional insurance to cover such losses.
The amount of coverage will vary depending your policy.It will typically be up to a stated percentage of the amount of your personal property coverage or a dollar amount, whichever is greater. There probably are limits on reimbursement for the loss of certain high-ticket or luxury items stolen, like jewelry, cameras, fine art and musical instruments, too. If you routinely cart that sort of thing around, you can purchase additional coverage.
If your auto and homeowners policies are with the same company, you may only have to file one claim and pay the higher of the two applicable deductibles. If not, you’ll have to file two separate claims and pay two separate deductibles. That will also mean an additional claim on your insurance records, which can result in higher premiums when you renew. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons based on the value of the lost property. A couple holiday sweaters, some cologne and a six-pack of tube socks may not be worth it.
If you do decide to file a claim for stolen property, you’ll need to provide proof of forced entry. So along with the police report, take some pictures. You’ll also need to provide proof that you actually owned the items you’re claiming were stolen. Store receipts or credit card statements from auto break-ins should be sufficient.