While holiday shopping, there is little more frustrating than finding that everything you purchased has been stolen from your car. But your car insurance will cover the loss of your stolen holiday packages, right? Not exactly.

If you have comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance policy, your insurer will cover you for damage to your car and the loss or theft of any equipment that’s attached to it, minus your deductible. But it won’t cover the value of your possessions. For that, you need to use your homeowners or renters insurance, assuming you have such a policy, says Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president at the Insurance Information Institute.


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Even then, you might not be able to cover the entire value of your stolen holiday packages. Some of these policies only cover up to 10 percent of the personal property limit. In the case of homeowners insurance, the property coverage is usually 50 percent to 75 percent of the coverage amount for the home itself.

Then, of course, you first have to pay the deductible. If that’s $500 per claim, you might not be able to recover anything, depending on the value of those gifts.

Another option might be to make a claim for the stolen holiday packages under the free purchase-protection benefit that comes with some credit cards. The benefit usually covers most purchases made with the card for 90 to 120 days, within certain limits.

For example, American Express provides coverage for up to $1,000 per loss or theft for holders of some of its cards and $10,000 for others, with annual claim limits of $50,000. Chase credit cards cover items that are stolen or lost within 120 days, with per claim limits of $500 or $10,000, depending on the card.

Such coverage is in addition to any insurance you have. So it might end up covering only your home or renters insurance deductible. 

But there’s bad news here, too. Some purchase-protection plans, including those offered by Discover and at least one Wells Fargo Visa card, exclude items stolen from vehicles, such as your holiday packages. The American Express and Chase benefits do cover such items.

Even if you can make a claim, you'll probably need to provide receipts (if they didn’t get stolen, too) and a police report. And some items are excluded, such as antiques.