Auto insurance is meant to assist you financially if your car is damaged. But what about when you’re left with an empty parking space? Unlike a car accident or storm damage, a stolen automobile poses more questions than it answers. Does insurance cover a stolen car? How can I make an insurance claim for a stolen car? Can I get my stolen vehicle back? We’re here to explain how auto insurance may assist in protecting you if your vehicle is stolen.
Does Insurance Cover a Stolen Car?
A stolen car is covered by car insurance, provided you have comprehensive coverage. If you do, you’re protected against blatant theft as well as damages to your car caused by a thief. Your insurance provider will compensate you for the stolen car up to your vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV), less your deductible.
Unfortunately, no other auto insurance directly covers theft, so if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you’ll have to fund the cost of a replacement car out of pocket. If your automobile is stolen, submit a police report immediately and call your insurance company to see if you’re covered. Time is a crucial factor here. Don’t delay the process, as it could make it more challenging to replace your vehicle. Moreover, there may be a greater likelihood that your vehicle isn’t found at all.
What Is ACV?
Your automobile’s actual cash value (ACV) is the replacement value, minus depreciation and wear and tear. This doesn’t account for insurance deductibles, which are the portion of your damages and medical bills that you have to pay yourself before insurance pays out. To assess appropriately, the insurance adjuster will analyze several factors, such as your vehicle’s make, age, model, value, and accident history.
It’s possible that your vehicle’s ACV may be less than you owe on it. In this situation, gap insurance can help cover the “gap” between what your comprehensive insurance will cover and the amount you owe on the loan However, this will only happen if your comprehensive insurance claim for the theft is approved. Gap insurance will not pay off your loan after a theft all by itself.
What Kind of Insurance Protects Against Theft?
Comprehensive insurance is the only type of insurance that compensates you for an automobile theft or damage caused by a break-in, regardless of whether your vehicle is recovered. Besides the stolen car scenario, there are additional theft-related incidents wherein comprehensive coverage would pay your expenditures. For instance, it would cover any damage caused to your automobile if it’s broken into, like vandalism or a broken window. It also covers catalytic converter theft and your keys if they’re part of the stolen car claim.
Comprehensive vehicle insurance is available as an add-on to a basic insurance policy. You must ask your insurance agent to add this coverage if you want it on your policy. If you don’t have this coverage, you can’t make a claim if your automobile is stolen. Liability insurance is the basic minimum coverage provided by auto insurance, and it doesn’t cover car theft. Instead, if you cause damage to other people’s property, other vehicles, or other drivers, liability insurance will pay for the claim.
Note that with comprehensive insurance, personal items in the car aren’t covered. To offset those losses, you’ll have to depend on renter’s or homeowner’s insurance.
What To Do if an Automobile Is Stolen
If your car is stolen, reporting it as soon as possible to retrieve your car or begin the claim procedure is critical. Call the police as soon as you learn your automobile has been taken. Only after filing a police report can you make an insurance claim. Here are the steps you can take to ensure you get your vehicle replaced or recovered:
Make a Police Report
It’s best to file a police report within 24 hours of the automobile theft. The sooner the police start looking for your stolen automobile, the more likely they are to locate it. The police may inquire about the following details to assist them in locating the car:
- The license plate number and the vehicle identification number (VIN)
- The car’s year, make, and model
- The approximate time of the incident and the location
- The details of the theft and whether there were personal belongings inside
- The car’s identifying characteristics, such as stickers or dents
- The type of locating device, if any
Be detailed and honest when completing your police report. After submitting your complaint, contact your vehicle insurer immediately to begin the claim procedure.
Submit an Insurance Claim
Your auto insurance company will want as much detail as possible to analyze your claim and make a compensation offer. When a policyholder files an automobile theft claim, they need to have the following information:
- Automobile’s title
- Lender’s contact information
- Car’s mileage, service records, and modifications
- Details of who had access to the car before the theft
- Policy holder’s account number
If you lease or have a loan for your car, contact your lender as soon as possible as well.
What To Do If a Stolen Vehicle Is Recovered
If your vehicle is recovered, report the recovery to the police and your insurance company immediately. A claims adjuster will analyze the damage and estimate the restoration cost for damages incurred while your vehicle was not in your possession. Comprehensive coverage reimburses for damages to your automobile from theft. If it’s a total loss, you’ll get the actual cash worth of your vehicle, less your deductible.
Does Coverage Pay For a Rental Car If a Vehicle Is Stolen?
Rental car coverage might pay for alternate transportation when you cannot use your own vehicle due to a covered loss. However, you must ask your agent about how many days your policy covers the rental. This coverage differs in various states and between providers, so check with your insurance agent regarding rental car coverage. Most states provide rental coverage for about 45 days.
Although a car thief may steal your car, having the proper insurance coverage can give you the peace of mind you deserve. Contact your insurance provider to ensure you have the coverage you need in the event your car is stolen. Knowing what you need to do if your stolen vehicle is damaged or never recovered can help you make the insurance claim go smoothly and get repairs or a new vehicle sooner.
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.