On Sunday, Aug. 11, former baseball star Alex Rodriguez had $500,000 worth of items, including watches, jewelry and a laptop, stolen from a rental car in San Francisco.
Chances are, car insurance didn't cover him: "Generally, auto insurance does not cover stolen personal items from the vehicle," Andrew Westlin, a certified financial planner at Betterment, tells CNBC Make It. "Comprehensive auto insurance would cover any damage due to a break-in, like smashed windows or broken door locks, but not the items inside."
That said, "If you have renters or homeowners insurance, your personal property can be covered in a theft, even if it is stolen from your car," he adds. Your credit card may offer some form of coverage, too.
Renters and homeowners insurance protect you if your personal property is damaged by something like a fire or storm. It also kicks in if your belongings are stolen, even if the theft happens outside of your home or apartment — in a rental car, for example.
The amount covered depends on your policy: Renters insurance that costs about $300 a year, or $25 a month, will typically cover up to $50,000 worth of property. Plans that work out to $10-$15 a month cover between $15,000 and $20,000.
You'll want to look at the details of your plan to see exactly what's covered. Standard plans normally cover belongings like furniture and electronics, but they may not cover expensive valuables like artwork or nice jewelry. You might need to get additional coverage — or, what's called an insurance rider — for valuable items.
It's also good to know what your deductible is. That's how much money you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance money kicks in.
If you don't have renters or homeowners insurance at all, get it today. Experts agree: It's well worth the cost.
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