Are theft of belongings due to a car break in covered under renters insurance?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 30, 2011

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Insurance Question from Charlotte, NC

Asked on 01/30/2011

Are theft of belongings due to a car break in covered under renters insurance? My car was broke in to last night and my rescue equipment, laptop, CD's & DVD's and other things were stolen, @ $8500 in stuff is GONE!! The claims agent wants proof of ownership for the stuff, receipts etc, and I dont have most of them. Some items were bought in the late 90's and early 00's, some gear was bought at department auctions and yard sales, and others I just didnt keep the receipts. I do have some owners manuals, radio programming printouts, the GPS receipt from this past Summer, and my laptop box. How much of a hard time am I going to have with this Claims Rep.

Answer given on January 31, 2011

Theft of property from a car is covered by a renters policy.  However, some policies have a limitation for CDs and DVDs, especially if you do not have a home CD and DVD player – in other words, they are only available for use in the car.  You should read your policy or talk to your agent about that.  Of course, all of the property loss is subject to the deductible on your policy.

The adjuster is correct in requesting receipts for all of the lost property. You are also expected to provide a detailed list of stolen property.  However, it is generally accepted that some receipts may not be available.  However, whatever receipts you have will help the adjuster determine your loss.  It would seem logical that you would have proof of your laptop and if you don’t have receipts on the rescue equipment, perhaps your employer could provide evidence of ownership, or confirmation that such equipment is needed or required for your job.  Provide some receipts to the adjuster and then ask him how to move ahead with a settlement for the items you did not have receipts for.

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