How insurance can help if your car is broken into

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  • If your car is broken into, comprehensive and full coverage car insurance will cover damage or theft of the car.
  • Homeowners and renters insurance cover any stolen personal property in the car.
  • Make sure to file a claim in a timely manner so you don’t miss out on coverage.
  • See Insider’s picks for the best car insurance companies.

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If your car is broken into, whether or not you’ll be reimbursed for theft or damage depends on the type of insurance  you have. Car insurance, renters insurance, and homeowners insurance all come into play.

Comprehensive car insurance covers theft from break-ins

There are three main types of car insurance: comprehensive, collision, and liability. Full coverage is a combination of the three. If you finance or lease your car, your lender probably requires comprehensive and collision coverage. 

Comprehensive coverage replaces or repairs your vehicle if it’s stolen or damaged. Comprehensive coverage typically covers damage from theft, fire, vandalism, or falling objects like a tree. 

If you have comprehensive or full coverage car insurance, you will be covered for break-ins.

*Most states require some type of liability coverage

Homeowners and renters insurance cover theft of personal property

If you have homeowners insurance or renters insurance, it will cover any personal property stolen from your car.

Homeowners and renters insurance cover theft of your personal property, even if it occurs outside of your home. If your personal laptop is stolen while you’re at a coffee shop, homeowners and renters insurance will cover it. If your laptop was stolen from your car, homeowners and renters insurance will cover the theft of the laptop, but not damage or theft of your car.

Steps to file a claim for car theft or break-ins

If personal items are stolen from your car, comprehensive coverage car insurance, full coverage car insurance, and homeowners or renters insurance will cover your personal belongings. If your car itself has been stolen, you will need comprehensive or full coverage car insurance.

If you need to make a claim with your auto insurance provider, follow these steps:

  1. Take pictures or video of the damage.
  2. Make a list of missing, stolen, and damaged items.
  3. File a police report as some carriers will require this. Be sure to have your driver’s license, insurance card, vehicle registration, and list of missing items.
  4. Contact your insurance provider. Failure to timely notify your insurance provider could result in a denial of your claim.
  5. If your credit/debit card has been taken, notify your financial, banking, or credit card institution.
  6. If your social security card, passport, or driver’s license or government issued identification card is stolen, notify the appropriate government agencies.
  7. If necessary, contact the three credit reporting companies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax).
  8. Keep documentation of all unauthorized purchases or access to your data, if your banking or identity information has been stolen.

Failure to file a timely claim can lead to a denial of benefits, so don’t wait long. You can call the claims number on your policy or make a claim online on your carrier’s website. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many carriers have digital apps to file claims where you can upload pictures of damage for faster processing.

Car insurance premiums may increase after filing a claim

Filing a claim may increase your insurance premium based on the number of claims previously filed or the amount of damage claimed. If it’s a minor fender bender, chances are your rates won’t increase, Felipe Teixeira, director of national auto product at Country Financial, told Insider. 

Talk to your car insurance provider to find out how filing a claim may impact future premiums.

Ronda Lee was formerly an associate editor for insurance at Personal Finance Insider covering life, auto, homeowners, and renters insurance for consumers. Before joining Business Insider, she was a contributing writer at HuffPost with featured articles in politics, education, style, black voices, and entrepreneurship. She was also a freelance writer for PolicyGenius. She worked as an attorney practicing insurance defense and commercial litigation. 

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