A simples guide

Possessions cover with car insurance

We spend a lot of time in our cars – an average of about three full years driving, if we added it together (and five days a year would be spent just sitting in traffic jams). Whether it’s for commuting or leisure – that’s a lot of hours spent in a metal box with wheels. So naturally, our cars can become a bit of a dumping ground for our belongings – but is the cost of your stuff covered by your car insurance if something happened to your car?

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Does car insurance come with contents cover?

It depends on the policy that you’ve agreed with your insurance provider. Comprehensive policies will usually include some sort of car contents insurance but check the amount that you’d be covered for – you might be surprised at how low it is. On the other hand, if you only have third party, fire and theft cover, then your worldly goods may not be covered at all.

It’s worth bearing in mind that your possessions may be covered under your home insurance (personal possessions cover) if you don’t have enough cover on your car insurance – just check the T&Cs.

What’s it worth?

Play golf at the weekend but leave your clubs in the boot all week or leave your laptop in the passenger seat while you nip to petrol station? It’s all too easy to overlook the costly items that we leave in our cars – tot it all up and you might amaze yourself.

In fact, a whopping £3 billion worth of belongings are left in cars overnight and 53% of car owners admit to leaving their cars unlocked when they are not occupied. And when it comes to your car insurance, leaving your car ‘unsecured’ could invalidate any claims – oops.

Also think about the everyday gadgets in your car that aren’t actually part of the original vehicle. If you’ve upgraded your stereo or put in a sat nav, check your policy to make sure you’re covered. ‘Factory fitted’ technology will usually be covered as part and parcel of your agreement but anything fitted retrospectively might not be covered – so check with your insurance provider.

What should I do if my car contents are stolen?

If you’ve caught someone in the act, dial 999 and speak to the police – this goes for any theft, whether it’s your car or the contents. The police will give you a crime number, which you’ll need when you contact your insurance provider.

If there’s no immediate emergency, then just hang fire and think about the possibilities. If your car isn’t where you left it – check it hasn’t been towed away because it was incorrectly parked (tut, tut). But if your car’s been damaged and the contents stolen, contact the police on the non-emergency number, 101.

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Better safe than sorry

Of course, having anything stolen or damaged is hard to stomach. But according to the Met police, it takes just 10 seconds to break into a car so it’s easy pickings. To give your car and its contents a fighting chance though, think about taking a few simple precautions:

  • Keep car keys out of sight (that means not putting them on the hallway table in full view if someone peeks through the letterbox)
  • If you’ve got a fancy keyless fob, then make sure it’s out of range when not in use
  • Keep garages secure
  • Add a secondary device like a steering wheel lock
  • Don’t leave valuables such as cash, phones or purses in sight
  • Ensure belongings are stashed in the boot or glove box (don’t forget to lock them)
  • Don’t presume covering your stuff with a coat or scarf is going to fool anybody – it’s the oldest trick in the book
  • If you have to leave valuables such as laptops or tablets, mark them with your house number and postcode

When are my car contents not covered?

Check your policy, there may be some items that are excluded (typically cash). You may also be expected to prove that the items stolen were actually yours so if you’ve got anything really valuable take photos.

You won’t usually be covered if there are no signs of forced entry and you’ll usually invalidate your policy by leaving valuables in full view (if you can’t see it, it can’t be a temptation) – it’s common sense.

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Getting a policy that suits you  and the way you use your car is vital. So think carefully about what you need and get a quote today.

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