@Progressive Blog

What's Covered If Someone Breaks Into Your Car?

Posted by Allison Ruuska on 11/26/2007 at 1:00 PM

See what auto insurance covers — and what it doesn't.

If you've ever been the victim of a vehicle break-in, you know how troubling it can be. Someone has invaded your privacy and stolen your belongings, then left you to pick up the pieces.


You can make a claim on your auto insurance policy to fix the damage as soon as possible, but do you know what items your auto insurance actually covers in these unfortunate situations?

Common Items Stolen From Vehicles

Break-ins often happen when a burglar spots valuable items inside a vehicle. Common items that are stolen include:

  • Car stereos
  • Cell phones
  • CDs
  • Laptops
  • Small electronics
  • Wallets or purses

Of these items, do you know which ones are covered by your insurance policy?

What Auto Insurance Covers

Under most auto insurance policies, damages due to theft will be covered under Comprehensive coverage. If you're the victim of a break-in, first check your auto policy to see if you have Comprehensive coverage. If you do, you can see what items are covered in the event of a theft.

Of the goods listed above, typically only car stereos would be covered by your auto insurance policy — and even those aren't guaranteed to be covered.

All of the other items — cell phones, CDs, electronics, purses, wallets, etc. — would probably be covered by your homeowners (or renters or condo) insurance policy, if you have one.

In most states, if you have a Progressive policy, we will cover sudden, direct and accidental loss to your vehicle and its custom parts or equipment. Custom parts or equipment are items that are permanently attached or installed to your vehicle. The operative word here is "permanently."

Going back to the statement that your stereo may not be covered, here's why: If you have a stereo that's made so the entire unit (not just the face) can be detached from your vehicle, the stereo would not be considered part of the vehicle, nor would it be considered custom parts or equipment. This is also why the other loose items that are not permanently attached to your vehicle likely would fall under your homeowners policy instead of your auto policy.

If a burglar breaks a window, scratches your door, breaks the lock or does other damage to the vehicle itself, that damage would be covered by Comprehensive coverage if you have it on your policy. With Comprehensive coverage, you would pay a deductible that you chose when you purchased your policy, and your insurance company would pay for the remaining related damage.

Deter Thieves From Breaking Into Your Vehicle

You can take specific measures to prevent someone from burglarizing your vehicle, such as installing an alarm system, keeping the doors locked, and closing the windows. But you also can take these preventive steps to deter thieves:

  • Make sure you don't leave valuable items, such as your purse, cell phone, keys, etc., in plain sight — even if you're just running inside to drop off some groceries.
  • Avoid advertising your CD collection by keeping jewel cases hidden or at home or by foregoing the use of a CD case that straps to your sun visor.
  • Detach your stereo face if your car is equipped with one.

Following these simple steps can keep your car from catching a burglar's eye in the first place — and keep your possessions in your possession.

The information in this blog may vary based on your particular state or situation. Always refer to your insurance policy for your specific coverages.

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All phones are covered on most property policies but the normal deductible applies which is usually $500 and the value of most phones is below that deductible so no money would be paid if a claim was filed.
Posted on 4/5/2010 at 2:55 PM by Dan Chambers

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