Do I Need Sound System Insurance?

Sound system coverage is an insurance policy add-on that covers the replacement costs for aftermarket car stereo systems after an accident or theft.
Written by Pat Roache
A standard car insurance policy won’t cover your stereo if you modify it with aftermarket parts. Instead, you’ll need sound system coverage to protect the value of car audio equipment upgrades.
  • Sound system insurance is an optional coverage add-on that can protect your stereo’s aftermarket upgrades.
  • This type of coverage is rarely offered as a default with a standard car insurance policy, so you’ll need to seek out this coverage yourself if you need the protection.

What is car sound system insurance?

Sound system insurance is a type of auto insurance policy endorsement that protects modified sound systems.
Equipment insurance for your aftermarket stereo systems comes in many shapes and sizes. Some car insurance companies may specifically offer sound system insurance, while other insurance providers may include this type of insurance coverage in broader customized equipment coverage.
Unfortunately, sound system theft is a relatively common occurrence. By adding this type of coverage to your insurance plan, you’ll be able to
file a claim with your insurance provider
to help replace your aftermarket addition.

Sound system insurance is best for permanent upgrades

Sound system coverage is best for drivers who intend to permanently install any modifications to their car stereo system that would raise the vehicle’s value.
Keep in mind: Car insurance companies consider the
actual cash value
of your car when calculating your premium because this is the most they would cover in the event of a total payout. They will not automatically assume responsibility for any aftermarket modifications you make to your vehicle—including upgraded sound systems—which is why you’ll need additional coverage.
Sound system insurance endorsements typically offer up to $3,000 to $5,000 in coverage. Talk to your insurance provider to make sure they offer this type of coverage and consider these cost limits before you make any modifications to your car stereo. Your company may deny coverage for a system that is more expensive than their endorsement limit would cover.
That said: Sound system coverage almost always comes with a
car insurance deductible
that you would have to pay before claiming any coverage. You may not need sound system insurance if the minimum deductible exceeds the value of the modification you intend to make.

Standard car insurance may cover unmodified stereo equipment

Damage to your factory-installed sound system will typically be covered by
collision insurance
comprehensive insurance
—depending on the circumstances—so long as you haven’t made any permanent modifications to any of its components.
Comprehensive coverage protects your stereo from vandalism and so-called “
acts of god
,” whereas collision coverage protects your stereo if it’s damaged in a collision with another vehicle or stationary object.
You’ll also be able to claim another driver’s
liability insurance
if they are at fault in an accident that causes damage to your sound system.
The bottom line: If your sound system is factory-installed, it’s likely covered from damage or theft by collision or comprehensive coverage. But if you’ve made aftermarket modifications, you shouldn’t assume your coverage extends to these upgrades before confirming this with your provider.

How much does sound system insurance cost?

The cost of sound system coverage varies from provider to provider and will greatly depend on the value of your sound equipment. Generally, you can expect this endorsement to add anywhere from $100 to $300 to your insurance premium.
Talk to an insurance agent about the details of coverage before you commit to any modifications. However, your agent will likely request receipts for the custom parts and installation costs to assess your exact cost (and keep them on file for potential claims).

Will installing an aftermarket sound system affect my existing insurance?

The extra coverage isn’t the only cost you’ll need to consider. Adding aftermarket sound equipment to your car could cause your car insurance rates to increase—especially for your comprehensive coverage.
A shiny new stereo will raise the value of your car and elevate its risk for
car theft
, and your insurance provider will likely consider these factors when assessing your rates.
In some cases, your insurance provider may deny you coverage for your new sound system or your car altogether if the aftermarket part raises your risk profile too much. This could subject you to an
insurance lapse
, so it’s even more important to contact your insurance company before installing any custom modifications.

How to file a claim for a stolen sound system

The first step to
file a car insurance claim
for a stolen stereo is to contact your insurance company. You can typically do this in person, over the phone, or online. Be ready to provide the following information:
  • Your policy number
  • The location of the vehicle
  • How the damage occurred
  • Information on any other damaged or stolen components
Most companies will request that you submit a receipt for the repair or replacement costs and they’ll reimburse you accordingly.

Sound system insurance deductible

You’ll have to pay your deductible before you can receive reimbursement for your stolen or damaged sound system.
If your deductible exceeds the cost of repairs, it may be better
not to make a car insurance claim
. For example, if your deductible is $700 and replacing your stereo is only $500, it would be more expensive to file a claim than to pay for the repair out of pocket.
Always get an estimate for the repair or replacement of your sound system before submitting a claim to your insurance company.

Other damages that may be covered if your sound system is stolen

You might be able to claim other damages to your vehicle under your sound system coverage if they occurred as a result of attempted sound system theft.
For example, a thief may cause damage to your car’s locks and wiring while snagging your brand-new subwoofers. The cost to replace these speakers may not exceed your deductible, but once you tack on the additional cost of your related car repairs, it may be worth making a claim after all!
Not all providers will cover auxiliary damages that result from sound system theft, so check the details of your policy before claiming the damages in question.

How to buy sound system coverage

There's no shortage of insurance coverage out there, but finding endorsements to fit your specific coverage and budgetary needs can be daunting.
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