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 Jaya Anandjit
Edited by R.E. Fulton
If you modify your stereo with aftermarket parts, a standard car insurance policy won’t cover it. 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.
  • Comprehensive coverage typically covers factory-installed sound systems.

What is sound system insurance?

Sound system insurance is a type of auto insurance policy endorsement that protects modified sound systems. You can add it to a standard
full coverage car insurance policy
to supplement your coverage.  
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 insurance.
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.
Why you need sound system coverage for permanent upgrades: 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.
Keep in mind: Like other
types of car insurance
, 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 should cover unmodified stereo equipment

Damage to your factory-installed car sound system will typically be covered by
collision insurance
comprehensive insurance
, or
liability insurance
—depending on the circumstances—so long as you haven’t made any permanent modifications to any of its components.
  • Comprehensive coverage protects your factory stereo from vandalism and so-called “
    acts of god
  • Collision coverage protects your factory stereo if it’s damaged in a collision with another vehicle or stationary object.
  • Liability coverage from another driver may also offer coverage 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.
Pro tip: Talk to an insurance agent about the details of equipment 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?

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 is higher than the cost of repairs, it may be better
to not 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.
Pro tip: 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!
Keep in mind: 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

Start by asking your current insurer about equipment coverage. There’s a chance that your current car insurance provider does not offer sound system coverage, so you may need to shop around and collect quotes from different carriers.
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Yes. Standard insurance policies usually cover factory-installed stereos, but they typically do not cover aftermarket audio installs or upgrades. 
Before making any insurance decisions, ask your provider about sound system insurance, or ask if they offer a different insurance product that covers installed stereo or audio equipment.
Subwoofers are typically not covered by standard insurance. Since subwoofers are not factory-installed, you’ll need to seek additional coverage to insure them.
If your stereo is factory-installed and you have a full coverage policy with comprehensive coverage, your stolen stereo will be covered. If you do not have comprehensive coverage, or if your stereo was an aftermarket modification, your stereo will likely not be covered.
In 2009, FBI statistics showed that the rate of car stereo theft had dropped by more than 50% since the 1990s, making it a
“dying crime.
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