Car Insurance Won't Cover Belongings Stolen From Your Vehicle - Here's What Will

Having your car stolen is bad enough. But what happens when you've stashed a bunch of your belongings in the back seat? You'll soon discover auto insurance does not cover those losses. That's true even if you've left your shopping, sporting equipment, electronics or other valuables inside.

Thankfully, you don't have to be completely out of pocket. Those belongings inside your vehicle are typically covered by your home or tenant insurance. That's just one reason why getting those other insurance policies are worth your while -- even if they are not always required.

What's in a Tenant Insurance Policy?

It makes sense that tenant insurance covers the stuff inside your rental unit. That's things like your clothing and personal belongings. Each of your possessions may not be of high value but it will take a lot out of your budget to replace them. Not everyone knows that your insurer will usually reimburse you for items that are stolen from your car as well.

Sometimes tenant insurance is called contents insurance, even though it extends to more than your stuff. A typical tenant policy can also protect you if someone's injured in your unit and sues, or if your actions cause damage to another part of the building. If you have to relocate because of an insured reason, your insurance can contribute to your living expenses.

Of course, if you are a homeowner, your home insurance also covers the belongings in your car.

Know What's Excluded

So home or tenant insurance sounds great. But like with anything, the truth is in the details. Sometimes insurers want to reduce their risk by establishing certain rules for high-value items. Check the conditions in your policy for things like bicycles or items that belong to someone else. You may still have coverage but have to pay extra in premiums or fulfill other obligations in order to qualify for coverage.

On some items, there may be special limits on how much you can claim. So if you keep your comic book collection in the trunk of your car, you may get less back than what it's actually worth. When you buy a policy, scan the list of special limits. Some surprising things may show up, like money, spare car parts, or sports equipment. You may want to buy additional coverage for things like jewelry if it's an option offered by that insurer.

Know the Perils

Things in your car may be covered, up to a certain percentage of your policy limits, as if they were in your house. That means you only have a claim under certain conditions. An "all perils" policy generally has the widest range of potential circumstances that give rise to a claim. But even then, there are exclusions. Like with all insurance, it's a good idea to read through your contract and know the details, so you're prepared when the time comes.

Make Sure You're Covered

You may think tenant insurance is optional -- until you need it. Whether you're worried about what's in your home or your car, you can check out your options online. has the latest quotes on tenant insurance and all you need to know about protecting your home.