Does car insurance cover the personal effects of your car after an accident?

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Drivers cannot assume that their personal effects will be covered.


Key points

  • Auto insurance provides important protection to motorists.
  • Insurance does not cover everything.
  • Drivers should know the limits of their insurance policies.

Cars are valuable assets and it is important to have car insurance to provide collision coverage. This can include collision insurance to pay for damage to a vehicle if the policyholder causes an accident, as well as comprehensive coverage to protect against theft or vandalism. Liability insurance is also mandatory and provides coverage for victims of an accident caused by a driver at fault.

Between these different types of coverage, a motorist involved in an accident should generally receive compensation to repair or replace a damaged vehicle, either from his own insurer or from the insurer of a person responsible for the accident.

But, a big question that arises is, what exactly does it cover?

Specifically, most people have personal belongings in their vehicle. These can be very valuable and can include items such as laptops, phones, other electronics, and a variety of other expensive items. These things could be damaged or destroyed in an accident – ​​but would car insurance pay for them if that happened?

Does auto insurance cover personal property?

Unfortunately, as a general rule, auto insurance will not pay for the repair or replacement of any of the items a driver has in their vehicle at the time an accident occurs. The insurance will cover only things that are part of the vehicle.

And, in fact, if drivers have expensive replacement parts installed in the car, such as a high-end stereo, standard insurance may not cover them either, and an add-on policy may be required to obtain protection.

The purpose of a standard car policy is to cover the car and its permanent components, not the little extras people add after the fact or the things they leave inside.

How to Get Coverage for Personal Property

Since many people drive with very expensive items in their car, it could be problematic that car insurance usually does not pay for these items. The problem is that people may not be able to pay out of pocket to replace a bunch of their stuff if it suddenly gets destroyed all at once. And of course, it’s not practical to leave all of these items at home, as people need a way to carry their expensive possessions when on the move.

The good news is that while auto insurance isn’t supposed to pay compensation in these situations, there are other types of insurance that can provide protection. Specifically, homeowners insurance or tenants insurance should be available to pay for damage to this type of personal property.

Of course, these policies will need to be in force before a collision occurs and those who obtain coverage will need to ensure that they have sufficient personal liability protection. But any consumer who plans in advance to cover their personal property when purchasing home insurance will not have to worry that their property will not be replaced or repaired after an accident.

However, there will be a deductible for a landlord or renter claim, and in some cases for a car accident claim as well, if the policyholder was at fault. It is therefore important to understand how policies work and to have money set aside to cover these costs in case the worst happens and an accident causes significant damage to a vehicle and its contents.

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