Someone Broke Into My Car, Am I Covered?

Car break-ins are rampant across the country. Read more to find out how you can prepare yourself against it.
Someone breaking into car with insurance coverage

What would you do if the worst happened? You leave your house for work, seeing that someone has broken into your car. Unfortunately, car burglary is one of the most common crimes in America. California alone reported over 243,000 car burglaries in 2018.

If your vehicle has been broken into by a thief or you worry about what to do if it does, this article is for you. Auto insurance covers damage or theft of your car, but what about the things inside? We’ll break down what to do after a burglary and whether your insurance covers it.

What Does My Auto Insurance Cover in a Break-in?

If someone breaks into your vehicle, there will be some damage. The thief might have broken one of your windows. Or they may have taken a screwdriver to your lock to get inside.

You might also discover that crooks have made off with part of your car. Catalytic converters are expensive and a popular target for thieves. These situations and damages are all covered by your comprehensive insurance You’re also covered if someone steals your vehicle. Below is a partial list of what comprehensive covers:

  • Broken locks
  • Interference with ignition
  • Theft of the car (the insurer will cover the vehicle’s value)
  • Cosmetic damage (upholstery, paint, locks)
  • Airbags
  • Broken or damaged windows
  • Damage or theft of stock/aftermarket equipment (GPS, stereo, radio, wheels, catalytic converter)
  • Damaged glove box

Homeowners and Renters Insurance Cover the Rest

While comprehensive covers damages to your car, it doesn’t pay to replace items stolen from inside it. Homeowners and renters insurance will.

Both homeowners and renters will cover the items in your car. Below are a few covered examples:

  • Laptop computers
  • Cell phones
  • Tools
  • Video equipment
  • Clothes, glasses, and jewelry
  • Bag, purse, or wallet
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Sports gear

This is only a partial list. Make sure to check with your insurance company if you’re unsure about a specific item.

Steps to Take After a Break-In

One of the worst parts about a car break-in is not knowing what to do once you’re a victim. Below are some of the most important steps you can take after a car burglary:

  • Call the police
  • Figure out exactly what was in the car
  • Take pictures (handy if there are damages)
  • Get in contact with your insurance company
  • Come up with proof that you own your belongings
  • Cancel credit/debit cards to avoid fraudulent purchases
  • Deactivate your phone
  • Turn in a complete police report

Tips on Avoiding a Break-In

It isn’t possible to completely protect your car from a break-in. However, there are several ways you can minimize risk. Some of these include:

  • Park your car in a garage when possible
  • Parking under streetlights when possible
  • Always locking your vehicle and closing the windows
  • Using anti-theft devices (alarms, steering wheel lock, etc.)
  • Being aware of suspicious figures who could be a risk.
  • Don’t leave valuables inside. At a minimum, they shouldn’t be visible.

Remember that the best way to prevent break-ins is to practice common sense.

How to Repair Broken Windows

When someone burglarizes your car, it’s common that they break windows to gain entry. In most cases, your comprehensive car insurance would pay for any repairs you need. All you’d need to do is pay the deductible.

Full glass coverage is also an option to repair or replace your windows after a break-in. It fixes your windows without needing you to pay a deductible. Some states, such as Arizona and New York, require insurers to offer this coverage to you. To get it, you’ll need to add it to your policy and pay a bit extra each month.

A few states are what many in the auto insurance industry refer to as a zero-deductible state. This is where the state requires insurers to repair or replace your windshield or other auto glass for free. The zero-deductible states are:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What happens to my rates if I file a claim after a break-in?

A: Your rates most likely won’t rise because it’s not your fault. But your claim history is a factor your insurer uses to determine what to charge you.

It doesn’t always make sense to file a claim. Sometimes, replacement costs are less than your deductible. In this case, it makes more sense to pay for the costs out of pocket.

Q: Someone broke into my friend’s car, but they also took my stuff. What happens?

A: Your property is protected by renters or homeowners insurance. Remember that your auto insurance doesn’t cover stolen items.

Q: My rental car got broken into, who covers my belongings?

A: Your homeowners or renters policy protects the items in your vehicle. Personal belongings coverage pays for your items no matter where they are.

Q: What happens if someone steals my car?

A: Your comprehensive coverage will cover the theft of or any vandalism to your vehicle. But your carrier will only cover the market value of your car. If items were in the stolen car, your auto policy won’t cover their loss. Your renters or homeowners policy will.

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