If your car is stolen, you should immediately inform the police, your insurer, and your lender.
Having your car stolen can be a nightmare. You know that your car insurance will protect you from liability claims in an accident, but does car insurance cover theft?
The answer depends on what type of insurance you have. If you have comprehensive coverage, your insurance will cover theft of your car, vandalism, and any repairs needed because of break-in damages.
Keep reading to learn more about the types of insurance that cover theft, what you can do if your car is stolen, and also the best car insurance companies in the market today for coverage against theft.
You can use the tool below or call (855) 518-0148 to get free, personalized quotes and see what providers are available in your area.
In this article:
- Insurance Coverage for Theft: What You Need to Know
- What Should You Do If Your Car Is Stolen Or Broken Into?
- How Can You Protect Yourself From Car Theft?
Insurance Coverage for Theft: What You Need to Know
If you have a basic, state-minimum insurance policy for your car, it is most likely to include only liability coverage. Liability coverage protects you from bodily injury and property damage claims if you cause an accident, but it does not protect you if your car gets stolen. For this, you need comprehensive coverage.
Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage that protects your car from damages other than collision. This can include theft, vandalism, damage done to your car due to break-ins, glass, fire, falling objects, floods, hitting an animal, and more.
However, it will not typically cover personal items stolen from inside your car, collision with another car, or collision with an object. While you are not bound by state law to have comprehensive coverage, your lender or lessee might require you to have comprehensive coverage if you finance or lease your vehicle.
Below, we’ll address some of the most common concerns about insurance coverage for theft.
How Much Will Insurance Cover For Theft Cost?
The cost of basic liability coverage is usually affected by the amount of coverage you buy. In the case of comprehensive coverage, your cost will depend on the deductible you select. If you choose a low deductible, your premium will be higher, and vice versa. Top providers like Progressive auto insurance charge $22 per month on average for comprehensive coverage.
To compare the cost of more insurance providers, use this tool or call (855) 518-0148 for free quotes.
What Is The Maximum Coverage Given By A Comprehensive Policy?
The maximum amount of coverage provided by comprehensive insurance will be the actual cash value (ACV) or market value of the car before it was stolen or damaged, less your deductible. If your car is stolen and the actual cash value of your car was determined to be $10,000 and you have a deductible of $500, your payout will be $9,500.
The actual cash value calculation will take into consideration several factors like depreciation, wear and tear, accident history, and mechanical or cosmetic problems with the vehicle, but will not include the cost of ancillary items in your car. Some providers may allow negotiation if you can show comparable values for the car.
It is important to remember here that the stolen car insurance payout may not be enough to pay off your loan. If you had gap coverage on your vehicle, this is where it will pay off. Gap insurance bridges the “gap” between the remaining amount you owe on your car and the actual cash value if your car was totaled or stolen.
What Happens If Your Vehicle Is Recovered/Not Recovered After Theft?
According to Statista, about 59 percent of stolen vehicles are recovered in the U.S. If your vehicle is recovered during the claims process but has suffered damages, the insurance company will determine if the damage can be fixed or if it has to be declared a total loss.
If the car can be repaired, they will pay you for the cost of repairs less the deductible. If the cost to repair your car will exceed a certain percentage of the actual cash value of the vehicle, your provider may declare it a loss and pay you money to replace it. If you decide to salvage the car, then the salvage value will be deducted from the final amount.
If you’re wondering how long it would take insurance to pay out on a stolen vehicle, most insurance companies wait two to eight weeks to see if the vehicle would be recovered before settling a claim. So, don’t expect quick results, and be prepared to wait for your stolen car insurance payout.
If your stolen vehicle is recovered after your claim has been settled, your vehicle will belong to the insurance company. In some cases, you may have the option of buying your vehicle back from them.
Will Insurance Cover Theft Of Car Parts And Equipment?
That depends on the type of insurance you have and the type of car parts stolen. For example, some insurance providers like Progressive will cover any stolen car equipment up to $1,000 if you have comprehensive coverage. For anything over that, you will need custom parts and equipment coverage.
Other insurance companies provide coverage for only pre-installed parts under comprehensive insurance. If you need protection for expensive, custom car parts, you will have to buy additional coverage.
It is always a good idea to read your insurance documents carefully or talk to your agent to know what is covered in your policy. Some policies may specify the use of aftermarket parts or original equipment manufacturer parts for replacement. Knowing beforehand what type of benefits you will receive when you file a claim will help you avoid surprises.
Does Car Insurance Cover Theft Of Personal Items From Your Car?
Personal items such as a laptop, phone, or handbag stolen from your car are generally not covered by your standard comprehensive car insurance. However, some providers may offer separate add-on coverages for these items.
Your homeowners insurance or renters insurance may also cover theft of personal items under personal property coverage or off-premises coverage. We recommend checking your insurance documents or talking to an agent for more information on your exact insurance coverage for theft outside the home.
To keep yourself and your belongings safe from theft, never leave valuables in the car where passersby can see them. Take them with you when you exit the car, or hide them where they are not immediately visible.
Does Car Insurance Cover Vandalism?
If you have comprehensive coverage and have taken all required actions, your insurance will cover damages due to vandalism. If your car is vandalized, file a police report immediately and then call your insurance company to submit a claim. You will need a list and pictures of the damage done for documentation.
Will Insurance Cover Your Stolen Vehicle If You Left Your Keys In It?
Some insurance providers may not cover your stolen vehicle if you left your keys in the car and consider it negligence on your part. Even if they do, some states like Texas have passed a law that makes it illegal to leave a vehicle unattended without switching off the engine, locking the ignition, and removing the keys from the car. As a precaution, keep your vehicle locked at all times, and never leave your keys in the car.
Will Comprehensive Coverage Provide Rental Reimbursement?
Generally, your comprehensive coverage will not pay for a rental car if your car is stolen. Most auto insurance providers provide optional add-on rental reimbursement coverage that can cover the cost of alternate transportation (rental cars or ridesharing services) up to daily and per event limits in certain conditions.
For example, if you purchased rental car reimbursement coverage from GEICO auto insurance, you will receive up to $25 per day for renting a car and up to $750 per claim while your car is being repaired.
If your car is deemed a total loss, you will have to find a replacement vehicle quickly. The insurance company will authorize only a limited rental period in such conditions.
Should You Continue Making Your Insurance And Loan Payments If Your Car Is Stolen?
Yes. Theft doesn’t change what you owe your lender, so you should continue making your loan payments. You should also keep paying your insurance premiums until your claim is settled, because your provider might extend your insurance coverage to the rental vehicle, as well. Also, if you break coverage, it will create a gap in your insurance history that can drive your premiums up the next time you purchase coverage.
What Should You Do If Your Car Is Stolen Or Broken Into?
If you suspect that your vehicle has been stolen, you should immediately file a police report. But before that, take a minute to determine if there could be any other reason for your car’s disappearance. Could it have been towed because you were parked in an illegal spot? Are you behind on your car payments? If so, the vehicle may have been repossessed.
Reporting a theft within 24 hours will not only increase the chances of recovering your vehicle, but it may also be a required condition in your insurance policy. You will be asked to provide information such as the year, make, and model of your vehicle, location and approximate time of theft, license plate number, vehicle identification number (VIN), and any other relevant information. You may also be asked to identify marks on your car or tracking devices or systems like Hyundai’s Blue Link that can be used to locate your car.
Once you have filed a report with the police, you should contact your insurance provider to file a claim. This is an important step – even if you don’t have comprehensive car insurance and only carry liability auto insurance – and will protect you in case the thief causes damage to other people or property with your vehicle.
In addition to the information you provided to the authorities, your insurance provider may also ask for the following details when you file a claim:
- Certificate of title for the vehicle
- Names and contact information for everyone who had access to the vehicle
- Location of the keys (before and after the theft)
- Policy number
- Leasing/financing information
- A list of property stolen from the vehicle if applicable
As part of the claims process, your insurance company may conduct its own investigation into the theft. This may include reading the police report, talking to eyewitnesses, or even running your credit report to check if you are in any kind of financial trouble.
If you lease or finance your vehicle, you should also inform your lender or lessee of the theft.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Car Theft?
Thanks to increased law enforcement, technology, and anti-theft programs, vehicle thefts are on the decline, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, experts warn that thieves have come up with new, innovative ways like smart keys and switching VINs to steal vehicles.
Some states have a higher incidence of auto theft. If you live in a region prone to auto theft and/or vandalism or drive a vehicle that is a particular favorite of car thieves, we recommend that you purchase comprehensive coverage.
When purchasing comprehensive insurance, it is important to go with an established provider with a reputation for superior customer service and the financial strength to pay out your claims. Our recent review of the best auto insurance providers in the market found GEICO, Progressive, USAA car insurance, and State Farm auto insurance at the top of the list.
GEICO, which ranked Best Insurance Company Overall in our review, has some of the most competitive rates and best coverages in the market today. In addition, you can get a discount of up to 25 percent on your comprehensive insurance premium from GEICO if your car has a built-in anti-theft system.
State Farm is another company that offers good anti-theft discounts if your car has an alarm or other approved anti-theft devices.
While insurance shopping may not be the most fun way to spend your weekend, this is one place where you don’t want to cut corners. Getting multiple quotes, shopping around, and doing your homework could help you save money and get the best possible coverage for your car.
Use this tool or call our team at (855) 518-0148 to get matched with the best rates in your area.
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