If someone breaks into your home, your homeowners insurance policy covers your loss, but if someone steals your car from your garage, don’t expect your homeowners insurance carrier to pay up. Assuming that vehicle theft is covered through your homeowners insurance is a common misconception -- and one that could leave you unprotected.
Who Covers Auto Theft?
If your car is stolen, whether it’s from your own garage or a random parking lot across town, it’s up to your auto insurance to cover the loss, not your homeowners insurance. Your homeowners insurance covers your home and its possessions. Your automobile is deemed a separate entity, as it carries its own insurance policy separate from your home.
Sometimes even auto insurance won’t cover the theft of your vehicle, leaving you totally unprotected against loss. There are several different types of auto insurance policies available -- collision insurance, liability coverage, personal injury protection and comprehensive coverage. Only comprehensive coverage covers vehicle theft. Under a comprehensive policy, you will be covered for the Kelley Blue Book value of your car. Kelley Blue Book suggests that if you own an older vehicle and your annual comprehensive insurance premium is more than 10 percent of the current value of your car, consider dropping the coverage.
Your Vehicle’s Contents
Though your vehicle itself is not protected from theft under your homeowners insurance policy, your car’s contents are. Your homeowners policy covers personal property stolen from your vehicle. Where it gets a bit tricky is whether an item is considered a part of your vehicle. For example, a stolen stereo that was factory installed by the auto manufacturer is covered by your auto insurance. If the stereo was bought by you and installed seperately, it is covered by homeowners insurance.
If theft of personal items from your vehicle occurs off of your property, your homeowners insurance does offer some coverage, but not as much as if the theft had been on-premise. Typically, off-premises coverage extends to 10 percent of your policy’s face value. If you have a $300,000 policy in place, off-premises coverage will cover up to $30,000.
Stephanie Rutherford-Scott has more than 10 years of experience in print and multimedia journalism for Booth and Gannett Corp. Her work has been published by the Associated Press and Gannett News Service in news publications throughout Michigan and the United States. She received her Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and journalism from Western Michigan University.