Insurance: When a car is burglarized

Q: My clothes, camping gear, camera and guitar were stolen from my car. Will my auto insurance pay for these things?

A: Maybe, but there may well be dollar limits for things like clothing, sports equipment, etc. that might be incidental to an outing or vacation. Your auto policy would specify those limits. (We had an odd fraud case a couple of years ago involving a man who kept claiming that his $33,000 collection of silk neckties was being stolen from his car.)

For things that are generally considered personal property, rather than auto-related property like a spare tire, jack, or roadside emergency kit, you might be able to file a homeowner's or renter's insurance claim. Talk to your agent or insurer -- and think about your deductibles. If you have a high deductible, it may not be worth it to file a claim for a small loss.

Note: This is one of a series of common -- or in some cases, particularly unusual -- questions received by our consumer advocacy staff, who answer questions from consumers.
Got a question or insurance problem of your own? If you live in Washington, feel free to give us a call, toll-free at 1-800-562-6900. We'll do our best to help. (And if you live in another state or territory, here's a handy map that lists the contact info for your local insurance regulatory office.)

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