Personal possessions cover with car insurance

Keep your belongings safe when they’re in your car and see if you need personal possessions cover.

Alice Lloyd

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Does car insurance cover personal belongings?

Most comprehensive car insurance policies include cover for your personal items when you leave them in the car.

Out of 363 comprehensive car insurance policies on Defaqto, 95% covered personal belongings as standard.[1]

Key points

  • Personal possessions cover insures your belongings when they’re left in your car
  • Comprehensive policies often include personal possessions cover; third party, fire and theft policies usually don’t
  • Cover limits can be low, but you can take personal possession cover out with your home insurance for greater protection

It’s a different story with third party, fire and theft policies though - just 10% of 193 policies included personal possessions cover as standard and most won’t let you add it as an optional extra either.[1]

How much personal possessions cover is included in car insurance?

Even if you do have cover, take care not to leave valuable items in your car if you don’t have to - of the comprehensive policies that did include personal possession cover as standard, just 15% covered possessions worth £400 or more. 

Most policies had a much lower level of cover, with 58% having up to £250.[1]

Cover for sat-navs and car stereos

The good news is that in-car electronics like sat-navs and stereos usually have separate cover on car insurance. When we checked, 95% of comprehensive policies included cover for factory-fitted audio equipment and sat-nav systems. 

For separate stereos and sat-navs, 93% of the policies included cover for audio equipment and 85% for sat-navs.[1]

Exclusions from personal possessions cover

Even if your car insurance policy does include cover for your possessions left in the car, exclusions are common. Look out for:

Wear and tear and proof of purchase

Make sure you have proof you had the items in the first place, usually receipts and photographs.

Your insurer might make deductions from the value of the items for wear and tear.

Non-forced entry

Your insurer might not pay out if there are no signs of someone breaking into your car, as this shows you didn't lock it up properly.

Items left in view

You need to hide your personal possessions in the car, usually in the glovebox or boot. Some even specify that these are lockable, particularly with convertibles and open-top cars.

Excluded items

Insurers will often have a list of items that are excluded from personal possessions cover.

These typically include money, credit cards, vouchers, documents and goods for business or trade.

Percentage value clause

Most insurers have a limit for the amount covered under personal possessions, but some also apply a further limit as a percentage value of the car.

For example, they might cover up to £1,000 of possessions, or up to 10% of the value of the vehicle.

This means that if your car is worth £5,000 but £1,000-worth of possessions is stolen from it, you’d only be able to claim for £500-worth of goods.

Tips to keep your possessions safe

  • Don’t leave anything on show
    Even in a locked vehicle use gloveboxes, door pockets and the boot
  • Empty your car if you’re going away
    Open the glove box and remove your boot cover to show there’s nothing to steal
  • Clear out your car regularly
    Avoid a build-up of things like clothing, tools and electronics

Cover possessions in your car with home insurance

Personal possessions cover can have so many exclusions that it might be worth looking at your home contents insurance for better cover.

Insurance for personal possessions outside the home can be added as an optional extra on your contents insurance, and allows you to specify cover for more expensive items like laptops or jewellery.

Excess and future premiums

When you make a claim for the loss of personal possessions under your car or home insurance you’ll probably have to pay an excess towards your claim.

You could also lose your no-claims bonus and your future premiums might be more expensive.

Because of this, if the items are low value, you might be better off covering the cost yourself.

What to do if my car contents are stolen?

If you notice your car has been damaged and things are missing, then call your local police on the non-emergency number, 101.

If you actually catch someone trying to break into your car, call 999 for an emergency response.

In either case, you’ll need a crime reference number from the police to give to your insurance company to start a claim.

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[1]Last checked 27 August 2019

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