Updated June 15, 2022
Imagine this: You wake up one morning, get ready for work, and go outside to get in your car. But your car isn’t in the driveway like it normally is. You look around and realize it’s gone. It was stolen, and now you have no way to get to work.
One of your first thoughts is likely, “Will my car insurance cover my stolen car?” The answer depends on the type of auto insurance policy you have and the specifics of your situation. Below, we’ll dive deeper into car insurance and how it applies to car theft. To find the right auto insurance plan, consult an insurance agent or check out this car insurance comparison tool.
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You’ll only receive coverage for a stolen car if you have comprehensive insurance.
Comprehensive coverage will cover your vehicle but not any of your personal items.
Report your stolen car to your insurance company as soon as you can.
Does car insurance cover a stolen car?
Will my car insurance cover a stolen vehicle?
Car insurance will generally only cover a stolen vehicle if you a hold a comprehensive insurance policy.
Car insurance might cover a stolen car, but only if you have comprehensive coverage. If your vehicle is stolen and you can’t recover it, this type of coverage will pay for its actual cash value (ACV). Unlike basic liability coverage, which protects against injuries and property damage that come from at-fault accidents, comprehensive coverage covers damage that’s unrelated to a collision.
While comprehensive coverage will increase your insurance cost, it will protect you against far more incidents, like vehicle theft, vandalism, fire, explosions, hail, winds, floods, earthquakes, and hitting an animal. Since comprehensive insurance isn’t usually required, you’ll need to add it to your minimum coverage.
If you file a comprehensive claim, you’ll have a deductible, which is the amount you must pay before the insurance company covers the rest. Comprehensive coverage can give you a great deal of peace of mind, especially if you live or work in an area that’s prone to stolen vehicles.
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What Comprehensive Coverage Covers
A comprehensive insurance policy may come in handy during these theft-related situations:
Your vehicle gets stolen and recovered: Even if your vehicle gets recovered, there may be some damage. Comprehensive insurance will pay to repair it to the same condition it was in before the theft.
Police are unable to recover your vehicle: If you need a new car because your stolen vehicle has not been found, comprehensive coverage will replace it up to its actual cash value.
Vehicle parts get stolen: In some cases, thieves will take parts of your vehicle instead of the entire thing. If parts like your tires or catalytic converter get stolen, you can count on comprehensive insurance to replace them.
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Steps to Take If Your Car Is Stolen
As soon as you realize your car has been stolen, be sure to follow these steps.
File a Police Report
If possible, file a police report within 24 hours of the incident. The sooner you inform the police department, the more likely they’ll be able to recover your vehicle. You’ll also be able to start the insurance claims process sooner. When you file a police report, be honest and prepared to share this information:
Your vehicle identification number (VIN)
Your license plate number
The year, make, and model of your vehicle
The location of the theft
The estimated time of the theft
Any personal property in your vehicle when it was stolen
Whether your car has a GPS or vehicle location device
File a Car Insurance Claim
You should also contact your auto insurance company within 24 hours of when your car was stolen to file a theft claim. While every insurance provider is different, an adjuster will likely ask you the following:
Your auto policy number
The police report number
The mileage in your vehicle
Details about any upgrades you installed
Photos of the theft location
The name and contact information of who had access to the vehicle
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Post on Social Media
One of the best ways to inform others about your stolen car is through social media. You can post on outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and NextDoor. Your friends and followers may share your post and get the word out there. By making your theft known, you might be able to find out more information on the incident and potentially recover your car faster.
Contact Your Homeowners or Renters Insurance
If there was personal property in your vehicle that was stolen as well, let your homeowner insurance or renters insurance company know. This is important, as your items at the time of the theft won’t be covered by your car insurance plan. Fortunately, your homeowners or renters policy should kick in and cover their replacement.
Reach out to Your Bank
Be sure to call your bank if there were any debit or credit cards in your vehicle when the theft occurred. Ask them to freeze your accounts so that you can protect yourself from fraudulent charges and identity theft.
What happens if my stolen car is recovered?
Research has shown that about 46 percent of stolen cars in the U.S. are recovered. However, even if your vehicle does get found, it may be damaged or missing parts. That’s why it’s important to carefully inspect your car right when you get it back.
In the event of recovery, your car insurance company will reimburse you for the repair costs. However, if they’re higher than the value of the vehicle, it will be deemed a total loss and you’ll be compensated for its actual cash value minus your deductible.
How to Reduce the Risk of Auto Theft
There are a number of ways you can lower the likelihood of your car getting stolen in the first place. Here are several suggestions.
Invest in Anti-Theft Devices
Audible and visible devices bring attention to attempts to steal a vehicle. There are also immobilizing devices, which stop thieves from getting past a car’s ignition system and hot-wiring. We can’t forget vehicle recovery systems and their electronic transmission technology that allows law enforcement to locate stolen vehicles and catch the thieves.
Some car insurance companies also offer policyholders anti-theft device discounts.
Remove Keys from Your Car
Even if you’re only leaving your car for a few minutes to run a quick errand, take your keys out of it. If your key is in the ignition, it’s all too easy for a thief to break in a window and steal your car. Also, take spare keys out of your glove box or anywhere else in your vehicle, as thieves may be able to find them.
Don’t Keep Valuables in Your Vehicle
You’ll increase your risk of car theft if you leave expensive items like your phone, purse, or laptop in your car. Do your best to keep valuables at home. If you do need to take a high-value item with you, however, hide it in the trunk so that it can’t be seen by others.
Be Mindful of Where You Park
Whenever possible, park in well-lit, highly visible places. Avoid parking garages for long periods of time, especially if they’re not being monitored. Thieves tend to stay away from areas they know they’ll be seen. Also, try to park your car with the front end facing a guardrail, wall, or obstacle, as this will further deter theft.
Have Your VIN Etched on Your Windows
If your VIN is chemically etched on all your windows and windshield, thieves will find it difficult to resell your car and its parts. A car dealership or local police department can complete this process quickly with a stencil.
Protect Your Car from Theft
No matter where you live, car theft is a possibility. That’s why it’s important to reduce its risk and invest in comprehensive car insurance coverage. If you only have liability insurance or would like to find lower insurance rates, use this car insurance quote comparison tool.
Within minutes, you’ll receive free access to personalized quotes from the leading car insurance companies without having to sign up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Liability insurance is mandatory in most states. However, it will only protect you if you cause bodily injury or property damage to someone else. You’ll need to purchase optional comprehensive coverage if you’d like to protect yourself after car theft. It’s the only type of car insurance policy that will pay for car theft or damage as a result of theft.
No matter what type of car insurance policy you have, it won’t pay for personal items that get stolen from your vehicle, like your phone or laptop. But if you have a homeowners or renters insurance policy, you may receive coverage. This holds true if your belongings were stolen even while the car wasn’t parked at your home.
Some car insurance companies offer anti-theft discounts, which can allow you to save money on your policy just for having anti-theft devices installed in your vehicle. Some examples of anti-theft devices include GPS trackers, vehicle recovery systems, steering wheel locks, and audible alarms. Often, you’ll need comprehensive coverage to qualify.
A comprehensive car insurance policy will cover up to the actual cash value of your car minus your deductible, which you’ll know about when you first purchase it. Remember that you won’t receive any compensation for your personal belongings, as comprehensive coverage only pays for your stolen car, not the items inside it.
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Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.