In theory, a claim for a car burglary can cause not just one, but two types of insurance premiums to rise. Depending on the nature of the burglary, both your auto insurance and your homeowners or renters insurance could be the logical policy to make a claim against. Then again, you also may find that neither offers much assistance, depending on the nature of each policy.
Call the Police
When you notice your car has been broken into, the first thing to do is call the police. This gives the cops the best chance to find the culprit because any evidence won’t be tainted by the chaos caused when you search for your stuff. In addition, your insurance company may want to see a copy of the police report before processing any claims, particularly if you’re claiming that expensive items such as jewelry were stolen. Unless you cite that in a police report, the insurance company might deny the claim. You won't have to worry about your policy going up in that case -- but nor will you receive any insurance money to help fix your car or replace your possessions.
Auto insurance isn’t as much help as you might think when your car gets burglarized. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you’re likely out of luck entirely. Even if you do have comprehensive insurance, it typically only covers the car itself and any accessories permanently attached to it. For example, if your car stereo is affixed to the dashboard and isn’t detachable, comprehensive insurance would cover it if a thief pried it out of the car. However, a portable GPS system that the thief slipped into his pocket would not be covered. For that and other items stolen from the car, such as a cell phone or wallet, you’d have to turn to your homeowners policy, unless you have specific endorsements including them in your auto policy.
Watch the Deductible
Your homeowners or renters insurance generally covers your possessions regardless of whether they’re in your home or in your car. That being said, take a careful inventory of what was stolen and how much it’s worth before making a claim. You may find that the value of that smartphone and satellite radio unit doesn’t exceed your deductible, or is so close to that amount that it’s not worth the potential policy increase to report it.
Not Your Fault, But Your Expense
A break-in may not be your fault, but it does indicate to the insurance company that you’re a higher risk than it may have thought previously. Maybe your neighborhood is becoming less safe, or you’re not parking your car in a garage, but on the street. Maybe you’re careless and leave expensive items in your car overnight, or in plain sight to tempt a passing thief. In any case, making a claim can cause your insurance to rise. If you suffered significant damage to the car and a lot of personal possessions are missing, and file both auto insurance and homeowners or renters insurance claims, both premiums could rise from the one incident.
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