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 visor.

But when you come back your car is gone. No matter what, it will be inconvenient. But will your insurance company cover it — even though they (and you) know that you shouldn’t leave your keys in your car?

If you have comprehensive insurance for the car (sometimes called “other than collision”), insurance may cover the theft — whether the keys were left in it or not.

And if you're not sure whether you have comprehensive (or "other than collision") insurance or whether your particular policy covers the situation, check with your agent.

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

The information included here was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with any training, materials, suggestions or information provided. It is the user’s responsibility to confirm compliance with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Information obtained from or via Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company should not be used as the basis for legal advice or other advice.