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Hand held electronicsThere has been a proliferation of hand-held electronic devices manufactured in recent years.  Almost everyone has a cell phone. In fact, mobile phones have become so pervasive and dependable that an increasing number of people have given up their home phones. iPods, Kindles, iPads, iPhones, GPS, DVD players, electronic games and computers of all types are all very portable and are often left in an unattended automobile. 

Thieves roam parking lots looking for the latest electronic devices and there has been an increase in vehicle break-ins. When you return to your car and your window has been busted and your electronic devise has been stolen, which insurance company do you call to report the claim?  Do you call the company that writes your auto insurance or your home insurance? Hopefully, the same company writes both policies because not only will it be easier to report the claim, but you would have received a multi-policy discount from the insurance carrier.

Your auto insurance policy will typically not respond unless the device is permanently installed in your car.  A GPS system which is installed in your dashboard is covered by your auto policy.  However, if the GPS unit is laying in the floor board or seat, there is no coverage under your auto policy unless you have purchased a specific endorsement to cover personal property such as an Emergency Assistance Package.

Homeowner policies cover personal property off premises including property in your automobile.  However, there is usually a $1,000 or 1% or even higher deductible in your Homeowners policy, so unless the loss exceeds the deductible, you will not collect from your Homeowner policy.

Your auto policy is subject to a deductible as well. However, considering the cost to replace the broken glass, the electronic device and any other damage to your vehicle, an auto policy which is specially endorsed with an Emergency Assistance Package will provide coverage.  The Emergency Assistance Package is not offered by every company so you will need to check with agent or your insurance company.  Keep in mind that coverage amount for the Emergency Assistance Package is generally limited to $500.

There is another loss to consider and that is the loss of data.  Always keep a back-up of your laptop computer, phone, iPod and other data because there is no insurance for the loss of data.  Furthermore, there have been recent reports of laptops stolen from salesmen who had customer data including credit card and social security numbers.  The potential damage resulting from identity theft liability would far exceed the cost of replacement of the electronic devise.

Not only are laptop computers stolen for the data, but a surprising number of GPS systems are stolen to obtain your home address.  While you are at the shopping center, church or hospital, a thief breaks into your vehicle to steal your GPS. The first thing the thief does is identify your home address so that he can drive to your home to break into your house because there is a higher probability that no one is home.  So do not store your home address in your GPS.  Instead store the address of a nearby drug store or other place of business as your home address. 

It is recommended that you do not leave portable electronic devises in plain sight in your car. If you do leave them in your car, lock them in your trunk.
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