Coverage when keys are left in vehicle

You left your keys in your vehicle and someone broke in. Are you still covered?

Leaving your keys in the car? There’s a good chance you’ve done it.

You run into the store, thinking you’ll be right back. Lugging your keys around can be a hassle, so you drop them into your car’s cupholder or tuck them on top of your closed visor.

You come back from your errand and your car is gone. Will your insurance company have your back — even though they (and you) know that you shouldn’t leave your keys in your car? 

You’re most likely covered keys or no keys

It’s a common misperception that your insurance company will deny coverage if you leave your keys in your vehicle. But, yes, this is a covered loss for Grinnell Mutual policyholders, and for most policyholders who have comprehensive (or “other than collision”) coverage, no matter who their carrier is.

What if you leave your keys right in plain view in the ignition? Yep, even then.

And even things inside your car (such as pricey sunglasses) may be covered if you have personal property coverage in your homeowners or renters policy. 

The key to preventing theft

Car thefts due to unlocked cars with the keys left inside are on the rise, according to a study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The report says there were 84,131 such crimes in 2019, up 2 percent from 2018. Keep in mind these were only cases in which the victim of the crime admitted they had left keys available inside the vehicle.

Your best strategy is to avoid the problem completely. Cars don’t just grow on trees, after all.

  • Keep your keys with you.
  • Leave your spare set somewhere other than in your vehicle.
  • Lock things up.

Call the police, report a claim

Obviously, if your car is stolen, the first thing you should do is to call the police. The second thing you should do is report a claim to your insurer. 

Grinnell Mutual auto coverages

July 2021