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Does car insurance cover contents kept in your car?

Its all Insurance

Posted on Thursday, June 23, 2022

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We spend so much time in our cars, that they often become the storing place of many valuable items. With around 83,000 motor vehicle thefts [1] in South Africa in 2020/21, it’s important to understand if your insurance covers the contents kept in your car or not. 


Generally speaking, it depends on what type of insurance policy you have. Third-party, fire, and theft insurance will not cover personal belongings, but some comprehensive car insurance policies do. In this short guide, we are going to cover all there is you need to know about contents cover for personal belongings stored in your car. 


Why is contents insurance important?  


When you take out car insurance, making sure its’ contents are covered may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But, if you add up the value of the things you carry every day, we bet you'd be surprised by the total.


Most people carry a lot of portable and wearable technology, including laptops, expensive smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and in-car entertainment. 


Other popular accessories such as jewellery, sunglasses, handbags, purses, wallets, and shopping are also worth covering. For parents with young children, car seats and prams are just some of the other day-to-day necessities stored in your vehicle.


Professionals may carry a range of things from tools to equipment, to musical instruments and even sporting equipment. For hobbyists, golf bags, bicycles, and surfboards will also most likely be transported in or on top of your car. 


All these personal possessions add up to thousands of rands and would be difficult to replace if lost or stolen unless you have insurance in place.


When considering that theft of personal belongings is a daily occurrence, it becomes clear that getting portable possessions insurance is an important protection against what could be a severe financial loss.


What is portable possessions insurance?


Imagine if you dropped your engagement ring without realising it while washing your hands in a public bathroom, or while on your way to a presentation, your laptop was taken in a smash-and-grab? 


These are belongings that are not only worth a lot of money but may also hold sentimental value. 


With portable belongings insurance, the possessions you take out of the home are covered from theft, accidental loss, or damage, thus allowing you to replace your valuable items if they are lost.


If your car is stolen, comprehensive car insurance will cover the permanent fixed parts of your car – like built-in radios – but it will not cover portable belongings that you take with you. 


An addition, portable possessions insurance is essential if you are always on the move with valuable items. You can cover the loss of valuables anywhere outside the home with portable possessions insurance. 



Does portable possessions insurance cover everything?  


With Budget Insurance, portable possessions insurance will give you general cover against the loss or damage of your valuables up to a certain limit. 


Clothing and the personal items belonging to you and your family members are all covered by this insurance, which is offered to you when you take out a home contents insurance policy. To clarify, if you want to take out portable possessions insurance, you need to have either home contents insurance, car or motorcycle cover.


Aside from general contents cover, more specific protection for expensive items is offered if they are worth more than the amount stated on your policy. 


This extra cover includes protection for:


1. Laptops: Portable computers have become a necessary component of our working lives, particularly since COVID-19 changed the working landscape into hybrid models where we divide our time between working at the office and home. Losing a laptop can set us back considerably – and that is why personal possessions insurance can protect us from a range of risks.  


2. Cellphones: Not only do we store a lot of personal information on our smartphones, but they are costly to buy in the first place. The loss of a cellphone can cause severe disruption and financial hardship in our lives. Personal possessions insurance can provide specific cover for the loss of a cellphone.


3. Jewellery and watches: Why own beautiful pieces of jewellery and watches if you are too scared to wear them in public for fear of having them stolen? Get insurance and wear them with confidence.


4. Cameras: Specialised camera insurance cover will repair or replace your camera if it is damaged, stolen or lost.


What’s not covered?


While many personal items are secured by our portable insurance policies, there are some situations that will not be covered.


For instance, if there is a loss of or damage to any precious metal, stone, jewellery, or watches that are valued higher than the amount stated in your policy, a valuation certificate needs to be provided for them. When not being worn, these items also need to be stored in a SABS-approved wall or floor-mounted safe.


Items that are damaged due to general wear and tear will also not be covered. Neither will belongings that are solely used for business, trade, or professional purposes. So, if your laptop is used solely for business, it will not be covered by personal possessions insurance.

If valuables are stolen from the boot or trunk of your car, there must be clear signs of a break-in, such as damage from forced entry in order to claim.

Cover your car and all of its’ contents today 


Protect yourself from the financial loss of having your valuables lost, stolen, or damaged while in your car.


Contact our helpful team today for a comprehensive car insurance quote and protect your valuables.