Insurance claims include unlocked cars

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A crime alert out of Henrico's far west end - where a cluster of car break-ins was discovered Monday morning. They happened on Gayton Station Road and Waterford Way Place. In every case, the cars were left unlocked. If this happened to you, would you write it off as a loss or hope your insurance covered it?

In the split second that it took for someone to walk up and steal her purse, Teresa Shepherd learned a valuable lesson.

"In a matter of minutes, seconds, things happen," Teresa said.

With a sizeable collection of cards to cancel, filing an insurance claim was the furthest thing from her mind. But it doesn't have to be.

"A lot of time it depends on the volume of contents that are taken. And also, the deductible," said Brett Reese Owner of Southside Insurance.

Insurance agents like Reese say claims on all kinds of items stolen from the car, get filed under the homeowner's policy. And rarely would it matter if the vehicle was left unlocked.

"I can't think of any situation where they would not pay the claim based upon leaving the vehicle unlocked," said Reese.

Consumers, though, would have to factor-in not only the deductible but the number of claims they've made in the past and decide if it's worth it to file.

"Other companies, after a certain amount of claims, you would be subject to cancellation," said Reese.

The alternative would be to "eat" the cost of the stolen items - replace them out of pocket - and remember yet another one of Teresa's valuable lessons.

"Always lock your vehicles and don't leave your possessions unattended," Teresa said.

Of course, every policy is different so experts recommend that if you're ever the victim of theft, talk it over with your own agent and then decide if it's a good idea to file a claim.

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