Theft of objects from a car
The good news is that most people, like you, are not thieves. You’d never think of breaking into a car, and neither would they, and that keeps everything in balance. Except…
Stealing objects out of a car is easier and more tempting than stealing the car itself. Successfully stealing a car requires a certain amount of hard-to-come-by technical knowledge, and a fair amount of time. But to steal the contents of a car, all you need is a way to break the window then to reach your arm in and take off with the stolen object a few seconds later.
The theft of items other than equipment and accessories that are part of the car itself is not covered by car insurance. Whether it’s your golf bag, your laptop, your portable GPS, a purse or a tablet, you’re only covered through your home insurance. Even then, you’ll be left with a broken window to replace…
In this situation, the broken window is considered attempted theft and is generally covered, if you’ve opted for one of the following protections: Section B1 – “All risks,” Section B3 – “All perils other than collision and upset” or Section B4 “Specific perils.” Be warned, in addition to having the right coverage, some insurers also require that you report the incident to the authorities within 24 hours. In almost all cases you are responsible for paying the deductible (there’s one exception that we’ll look at later), and hoping that the cost to repair the damage is less than that amount!
It’s summertime, and your golf clubs are sorely missed. You call your insurer to place a claim, police report and proof of purchase in-hand. Now all you need to do is pay the deductible and all this will be a thing of the past.
Really? Not quite.
The impact on your insurance
With car insurance, theft generally has less of an impact on your premiums at the time of renewal than if you had an accident where you were at fault. You should emerge relatively unscathed. The most important factor is frequency. One theft in 20 years? No problem -- it’s looked at as a chance occurrence. However, what do the next six years have in store for you? Could you be unlucky again? The more claims you file, the bigger the impact on your premiums.
With home insurance, the impact on your premiums is generally felt right away, upon your next renewal. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s rare to see otherwise.
The important thing is to understand that insurance is there to help you pay for losses that you can’t afford to cover yourself. Don’t refrain from making a claim just because you’re afraid of higher premiums. You pay those premiums for a reason. If the loss is covered and the deductible is lower than the amount of the claim, you can exercise your right to make a claim.
Fortunately, if you’ve combined your insurance, you only have to pay one deductible if there’s an incident that touches on both your car and home insurance (the higher of the two). The incident will appear in both files, and could have an impact on both, but at least you won’t have two insurers to contact or two deductibles to pay.
Still, better not to be robbed at all
We’ve been talking about worst-case scenarios here, but really the best thing is to avoid leaving valuables in your car altogether. If you have no choice at least leave them in the trunk. The best way to avoid theft is to avoid temptation.