Does My Car Insurance Cover Personal Belongings?
Our cars sometimes become tiny extensions of our homes, and after a period of time it’s not uncommon for various personal effects to accumulate there. But if something happens, will our car insurance cover the loss of our personal belongings?
That might depend on the type of car insurance we have, and the insurance company who provides it.
Most commonly, personal belongings cover is offered as part of Comprehensive insurance. If you’re buying Third Party Fire & Theft or Third Party only insurance, it may not be included, so be sure to check when you buy your policy.
If it doesn’t come as standard – it may be available as an optional extra, but this means you may have to pay more.
The amount of cover also varies a great deal between insurers; we’ve seen cover from £100 up to £300, but you may also come across different amounts. All our private car insurance policy documents are listed on this page – you can read the policy booklets for each insurer to find out the limit of personal belongings cover on your policy, or to check the limits of other insurers.
When your personal belongings are covered
Again, all insurance companies vary their terms and conditions, but as a general rule if you have personal belongings cover, they’ll be covered in the event of fire, theft or accidental damage whilst in your car.
One of the most common conditions to meet the policy rules is that you have taken reasonable steps to ensure the security of your belongings by always locking the car and keeping them out of sight in a storage compartment such as the boot.
In some cases, the cover is “new for old” but other times you’ll be paid for the cost of the lost item, less an amount for wear, tear and loss of value, so check with your insurer if it’s not clear what their own policy is.
When they’re not covered
Every insurance company is different, but some common exclusions include:
- You won’t be covered if you leave your car keys in the ignition, if you left the car unlocked or with a window or sun-roof open.
- Some insurers won’t cover you if your belongings are anywhere but the boot or other enclosed storage compartment, particularly if your car is a convertible.
- Specific items may not be insured, such as
- mobile phones
- sat navs
- credit or debit cards
- printed documents
- jewellery or watches
- car stereos or other audio equipment
- Any goods or equipment relating to your business, employment or trade may not be insured – a private car policy will only cover personal belongings.
- Under a few policies, a claim for personal belongings can only be made where you are also submitting a valid claim under another section of your policy, i.e. loss of or damage to your car.
If your policy document doesn’t make its personal belongings cover clear, feel free to contact your insurer for clarification.