Car insurance can help cover expenses for car collisions, vehicle damage, and even theft. Knowing what your car insurance policy covers can help provide peace of mind if your vehicle is stolen or is returned damaged from theft. Different insurance companies have different coverage options and rates, so learning more about how car insurance can help cover theft can help you choose the coverage and policies that work best for you. Keep on reading to learn more about how car insurance can cover theft and how you can protect your vehicle from being stolen.
Does Car Insurance Cover Theft?
Yes, certain types of insurance coverage can help you pay for damage incurred from vehicle theft. Some insurance policies can also help you replace your vehicle if it’s deemed a total loss. This can help offer peace of mind if your vehicle is stolen or damaged from theft. Some insurance policies that address theft include:
Comprehensive coverage can help you cover theft-related repairs among other types of non-accident repairs. This can help you cover costs for:
- Broken door locks
- Shattered windows
- Door panel damage
- Broken ignition system
- Damaged interior items
If your vehicle was stolen and not found, comprehensive coverage can help you recover the total cost of your vehicle. This typically includes the current market value of your vehicle minus any deductibles you had to pay to cover your vehicle. For example, if your vehicle is worth $35,000 and your deductible is $1,000, then the insurance company would reimburse you $34,000 for your vehicle’s total loss.
This type of insurance can also help you recoup the total cost of your vehicle if it’s deemed a total loss. Having gap insurance is useful if you owe more on the vehicle than what it’s worth. You may consider adding this policy to your vehicle’s insurance plan if:
- You finance your vehicle with less than 20% down
- The vehicle is a leased vehicle
- Your loan term is longer than 60 months
- You drive the vehicle more than 15,000 miles per year
- The vehicle’s market value depreciates higher than average
This insurance helps cover the gap between what your comprehensive insurance will reimburse and how much you still owe to your vehicle’s lender. For example, if you owe $45,000 and the current market value is $37,000, then you would still be liable for $8,000 out of pocket. Gap insurance covers that difference so you can pay off your lender without additional out-of-pocket expenses.
Car Insurance Limitations
If your vehicle has custom parts or upgrades and these items are stolen from your vehicle, many insurance policies won’t cover this loss. To help protect you from paying for this theft, you can opt for custom parts and equipment (CPE) coverage to help recover this cost. The average cost for this type of insurance varies based on the specific upgrades and parts you’ve installed on your vehicle. There is a limit to the dollar amount of this coverage, which varies by state, so it’s a good idea to research your state’s specific coverage amount.
It’s important to note that many insurance companies will only cover these items if a dealer or certified auto shop installs these parts and equipment. Some devices, equipment, and parts covered by a CPE policy include:
- Chrome and reverse chrome
- Performance-related equipment
- Aftermarket stereo or sound system
- Custom wheels
- Special performance tires
- Leather seats
What To Do If Someone Steals Your Car
Once you determine that your car was stolen, it’s important to report this to your local law enforcement. They will file a report and can help recover your vehicle if it’s found. You can then submit this report to your insurance company to start the claims process. Many insurance companies outline specific timelines for your claim before they deem your vehicle a total loss. Once they do determine it’s a total loss, then they will assess the value of your vehicle and issue you a check to cover the market value of your vehicle.
If law enforcement personnel recover your vehicle, you can still file a claim to help cover repair expenses. Many times, insurance companies will request pictures or have an auto body shop assess the damage to help them better understand the cost to repair your vehicle. After this assessment, the insurance company will pay for the repair of your vehicle minus any deductible you’ve already paid.
What If My Personal Belongings Are Stolen From My Car?
Car insurance will not cover the theft of your personal belongings, even if they are stolen from your car. If you have home or renters insurance that covers your personal belongings, you can file a claim to recover the cost of your personal belongings. This remains true even if your vehicle wasn’t on your property at the time of the theft. Additionally, you can insure your electronic devices separately with electronic device insurance to help recover the cost of stolen cell phones, laptops, tablets, or other electronic devices.
How Can Anti-Theft Devices Help Me Save?
Some insurance companies and states offer insurance discounts for vehicles that have anti-theft devices. This is because they help deter theft or can increase the likelihood of recovering your vehicle in case it’s stolen. Some anti-theft devices include:
- Manual car alarm
- Passive car alarm
- Tracking devices
- VIN engravings
- Brake lock
- Car wheel clamp
- Hidden kill switch
- Steering wheel lock
Some other ways to help deter theft include always locking your vehicle and taking any visible personal belongings out of your vehicle. Parking in well-lit areas or areas with surveillance can also deter theft.
Understanding how car insurance can help cover theft for your vehicle can give you peace of mind if this happens to your vehicle. Researching different insurance companies and comprehensive coverage rates can help you find the best policy for you and the rate that works for your wallet.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.