Does Renters Insurance Cover Car Damage?

It could come in handy for some car-related property damages.

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Renters insurance won’t cover damage to your car itself–that’s what car insurance is for. However, your renters policy might cover damage to your personal property caused by a car, like if someone runs over your stuff and then drives off.

Your renters insurance might also apply to some other car-related scenarios that we’ll discuss below.

Read on for everything you need to know about car damage and your renters insurance.

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TL;DR
  • Renters insurance won’t cover any damages to your car itself, which would fall under your auto insurance policy. 
  • Renters insurance could cover damages to your personal property caused by a car. For instance, if someone damages your property with their car and is either unidentifiable, uninsured, or uncooperative, your renters insurance could be a reliable fallback.
  • While your policy also wouldn’t cover the theft of your car, it could cover the theft of stuff you have stored inside your car.

Here’s what we’ll discuss:

Does renters insurance cover damage or vandalism to my car, or car theft?

Renters insurance won't cover car vandalism, but it could protect the valuables stored inside your car.

No, it does not–that’s car insurance! 

If you’d like to save some money and enjoy the convenience of insuring all of your property under one roof, you might consider bundling your renters and car insurance policies. (And here are some tips on anti-theft devices for your car, if you’re curious.)  

Does renters insurance cover theft of stuff I have inside the car?

Your renters insurance does cover damage and theft related to stuff you may have stored inside your car. 

Let’s say a thief smashes the rear window of your Camry and makes off with all the Christmas gifts you left in the back seat. The loss or damage to your property may be eligible for coverage for those items (just not the cost of repairing the broken window, which would fall under your car insurance policy).

Does renters insurance cover me if I get hit by a car?

Renters insurance wouldn’t help cover your medical bills if you got hit by a car.  

But if you were riding your bike during an accident with a car, and your bike got damaged, you could be covered for the damages to your bike, since “collision with a motor vehicle” is a covered peril. It doesn’t matter in this scenario whose fault the accident was. 

The same goes for if you were hit by a car while carrying your computer or other valuables—if you were knocked down and those belongings were damaged in the incident, your renters insurance could help cover the repairs or replacement cost.

Does renters insurance cover me if someone damages my property with their car?

Yes, it generally does.

Normally, if someone damages your property with their car, that person’s auto policy would respond. However, your renters insurance can be a reliable fallback if the other party is unidentifiable (as in, they took off from the scene), uninsured, or uncooperative.

Does renters insurance cover me if I cause property damage with my own car?

No, typically it does not. 

Let’s say you’re driving along, get distracted, and accidentally crash into (and damage) someone’s front yard, destroying their grill, patio furniture, and slightly creepy garden gnomes. 

In this case, your renters insurance would not come to the rescue– your car insurance policy would respond. 

However, your renters policy might protect you if you run over your own stuff. If, for instance, you’re running late for work, forget that you’ve left your phone on the hood of your car, and end up smashing it into oblivion, your renters insurance’s personal property coverage might pay to replace it.

Does renters insurance cover me if I’m carrying something fragile in my car and damage it in transit?

No, renters insurance typically does not cover damage that your property incurs in transit. 

So, if you hit an unexpected speed bump and shatter your best set of crystal glassware, your renters insurance wouldn’t provide coverage.

What other car-related scenarios would renters insurance cover?

If your bike is attached to the back of your car and gets smashed in a car accident, it would generally be covered by renters insurance.

These are a bit more unlikely, but, hey, life is unpredictable! Your renters insurance could be helpful if any of the following happened:

  • Your bike is attached to the back of your car and gets crushed when you accidentally back into the wall of a parking garage. Here, your renters policy would likely cover the costs of repairing or replacing your bike. 
  • A car smashes into your ground floor apartment, causing structural damage to the building or smashing windows. In this case, the auto policy covering the vehicle that caused the damage would respond, but your renters policy’s loss of use coverage might kick in to cover the reasonable living expenses you incur if your home became temporarily uninhabitable due to the incident.
  • You’re hosting a party on your modest patio. A car crashes into the area; in the chaos, your best friend breaks their leg. While coverage for your friend’s medical bills would likely be dealt with via the car owner’s auto insurance, your renters insurance’s personal liability coverage might possibly afford coverage for medical expenses.

When filing a claim for a car-related damage, keep in mind that some coverages are subject to deductibles. We recommend that you read your policy documents to determine how much of the claim you will be responsible for before coverage kicks in.

Why you need both renters and car insurance

Renters and car insurance provide different types of coverage–renters is for your personal stuff and guest liability while car insurance is for your vehicle and liability while driving. In some scenarios, car-related damages might be protected by your renters policy; in many others, the damages will be the responsibility of your car insurance. That’s why, if you’re both a driver and a renter, you’ll want to cover all your bases.

For full protection (and peace of mind), why not purchase both renters and car insurance?

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A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage and discounts may not be available in all states.

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Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.