Published: April 2014
It's a sinking feeling. You return to your car and find a broken window, and an empty space where your golf clubs used to be. As you call the police, it occurs to you —is this covered by your insurance policy?
Someone broke into your car to commit the theft, so you may think the stolen item is covered by your auto insurance policy—but that's a common misconception. While an auto insurance policy that contains comprehensive coverage typically helps protect you in case your car is stolen, or may help pay for repair costs if your car is damaged when someone breaks into it, a car insurance policy usually doesn't pay to replace personal property stolen from your car.
The golf clubs stolen from your car may still be covered, though—depending on your renters or homeowners insurance policy.
If you have a renters or homeowners insurance policy that includes personal property coverage, your stolen golf clubs might be covered under that policy.
Personal property coverage helps protect the items you typically keep in your home—such as furniture, clothing, electronics, or other personal items—against certain causes of loss, known as perils. Theft is usually one of these covered perils (although you should check your own specific policy to make sure).
What you may not know is that personal property coverage usually protects these personal items even if the theft happens away from your home. So, if your personal property—a golf bag full of clubs, for instance—is stolen from your car, and the personal property coverage in your homeowners or renters policy protects against theft, your insurer will help pay for its replacement.
A couple of things to know about personal property coverage: This type of coverage is typically subject to certain limits, or the maximum amount your insurer will pay to repair or replace the items after a covered loss. It also usually has a deductible, meaning that you have to pay a certain amount of money toward the covered item's repair or replacement before your insurer will begin helping to pay, up to the limits.
What if your golf clubs—or other personal property items—are worth more money than the limits on your personal property coverage? In that case, you may want to talk to your insurance agent about buying additional coverage. For example, some big-ticket items, such as jewelry or expensive art, may cost more than the limits on your policy, so if you want to protect them, you may have to buy additional coverage. Talk to your insurance agent to explore your options.
Also, you may be wondering: What about items that you purchase and have installed in your car, like stereo equipment? They're not really part of your car, but they also don't seem like personal property you'd usually keep in your home. To help protect a sound system you have installed in the car—not the stereo installed by the manufacturer—you may need to talk to your insurance agent about adding extra coverage to your auto insurance policy, in case that equipment is damaged or stolen.
Whether you're planning a golfing trip with buddies, or you just want to make sure your important possessions are covered, it's a good idea to understand your personal property coverage. Have questions? Contact your insurance agent for more information.