Does car insurance cover all theft?

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Theft from driveway: Car insurance enough?

On winter mornings, you may not give a second thought to warming up the car for a few minutes while you finish your breakfast.

But an idling car can attract car thieves. After all, what would be easier for a thief than sneaking into your warm car and driving away?

And, importantly, if this happens to you, will your car insurance cover the loss?

Comprehensive insurance normally will cover the loss, even though you made the theft easy. The key to being compensated for a car theft is to have comprehensive car insurance in the first place; remember, if you opted out of automobile comprehensive and collision insurance, theft is excluded from your car insurance coverage.

Some carriers, too, do not look favorably on practically handing your car over to thieves by leaving it running unattended in your driveway with the keys in the ignition and doors unlocked. As a result, they might have language in the coverage to exclude the policyholder from claiming a loss if this should happen. Read your policy carefully.

Note any language about the policyholder being liable if he or she “increases the risk of theft” (like leaving your car running unattended). You may also want to check with your local municipality about idling ordinances; if there is one on the books, you may have trouble getting your insurance company to settle.

What to do if your car is swiped

  • Call the police immediately. You will need a police report sent to your insurance company in order to make a claim. Have all the information about your car available for the report, including license plate number, make and model, color, and insurance information. If you have a photograph of your car, have that available as well. Before the police leave, ask how to get a copy of the report.
  • Call your insurance provider. Provide the insurance company with all of your information and a copy of the police report. Also, give your car insurance provider a list of any valuables that were in the car, such as a laptop, cell phone, compact discs, or tools.
  • Call the auto loan lien holder. If you owe money on the car to a financial institution, you will need to let them know.