We're going Christmas shopping this weekend. It seems like every year we hear about someone who has Christmas presents stolen from their car. Will our car insurance cover this?
Before we get into the insurance aspects of this type of loss, the best thing you can do is keep any gifts out of sight. Put them in the trunk or keep them with you until you're ready to go home. If someone does break into your car, your car insurance may cover any damage to the car, but generally will not pay for personal property in your car. Your homeowners or renters policy will cover personal property but it's pretty common for people to have a deductible of $500 or more, and there may be limits on certain types of property.
Let's look at an example. You have just gone to the amazing sale at the mall and you bought $700 worth of electronics and put them on the back seat of your car. You go back in to get that one last gift for your favorite nephew and when you come back, the car door glass is smashed and everything is gone.
Your first call should be to the police and the security office for the mall. Most insurance policies require a police report in order for there to be coverage for theft loss. Then you call your car insurance company. If you have comprehensive coverage on your car, the glass repair will be covered, subject to your deductible.
Your next call is to your homeowners or renters insurance company. They will want a list of the stolen property, and any receipts you have. Hopefully, the receipts are not in the bags with your gifts but safely in your wallet or purse. If you don't have receipts, the store may be able to provide copies or you may have a credit or debit card record. The insurance company will pay for the property, but subject to the deductible for the homeowners policy. If you have a $500 deductible and a $700 loss, you'll receive $200.
This is no way to enjoy the holidays so, again, we strongly recommend doing everything possible to avoid being a target of a car prowler.