Does Car Insurance Cover the Belongings in Your Car After a Crash?

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  • Car insurance provides important protection for motorists.
  • Insurance does not cover every single thing.
  • Drivers need to know the limitations of their insurance policies.

Drivers can't assume their personal possessions are going to be covered.

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

Between these different types of coverage, a motorist who is involved in a crash should usually receive compensation to repair or replace a damaged vehicle -- either from his own insurer or from the insurer of a person at fault for the crash.

But, one big question that arises is, what exactly does this cover?

Specifically, most people have personal possessions in their vehicle. These could be quite valuable, and may include things like laptops, phones, other electronics, and a variety of other expensive items. These things could be damaged or destroyed in a crash -- but would car insurance pay for them if that occurred?

Does car insurance cover personal property?

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

And, in fact, if drivers have expensive after-market parts installed in the car, such as a high-end stereo, standard insurance may not cover those either and an add-on policy may be necessary to get protection.

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

How to get coverage for personal property

Since many people drive around with very expensive items in their cars, it could be a problem that car insurance generally will not pay for these items. The issue is, people may not be able to pay out of pocket to replace a bunch of their stuff if it is suddenly destroyed all at once. And of course, it is not practical to just leave all these items at home since people need a way to transport their expensive possessions when they go places.

The good news is, while car insurance is not meant to pay out compensation in these situations, there are other types of insurance that can provide protection. Specifically, homeowners insurance or renters insurance should be available to pay for damages to this type of personal property.

Of course, these policies will need to be in effect before a collision occurs and those who obtain coverage will need to make sure they have a sufficient amount of personal liability protection. But any consumer who plans ahead to cover their personal possessions when buying homeowners insurance is not going to have to worry that their stuff will not be replaced or repaired after a crash occurs.

However, there will be a deductible for a homeowners or renters claim, and in some cases for a car accident claim as well, if the policyholder was at fault. So, it's important to understand how policies work and have money set aside to cover these costs in case the worst occurs and an accident causes extensive damage to a vehicle and its contents.

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