Does auto insurance cover car theft?

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You have taken out a liability insurance policy on your car, but how much does basic insurance cover for theft? You know that your auto insurance covers certain medical bills and property damages, but when a car is stolen what does insurance pay? Having yourself and your vehicle protected in case of an accident is only part of what your auto insurance can do for you.

Does car insurance cover car theft?

Basic auto insurance will not cover a stolen car, but there are coverage types that will. Comprehensive coverage deals with car theft and car damages that don’t arise from a vehicular accident or collision, and in many cases, is the only type of stolen car insurance.

Who needs comprehensive insurance?

Anyone who keeps their car in an area of high theft should consider comprehensive coverage. Other situations are if you expect to leave your vehicle unattended for a significant period of time – in an airport parking lot, for instance. If you are going on vacation and leaving your car in the driveway, it can be wise to add comprehensive coverage for the time you will be gone. Whenever the odds of your vehicle being stolen or broken into are significantly raised, it makes sense to extend your coverage to deal with that heightened risk.

What to do if your car has been stolen

Dealing with car theft can be overwhelming and disorienting. Still, there is a simple protocol you can follow to get you through this terrible situation.

Call the police

The first thing to do is to contact the police immediately. As soon as you notice that your vehicle is gone, you should be picking up the phone to dial your local police. Inform them what’s happened and ask to file a police report.

File a police report

Once you get ahold of the police, you will need to file a police report. This report will include basic details about your car, such as make, model and color. You will also be asked some questions about where you left the vehicle, whether it was locked and other specifics to help with the case.

File a claim

After filing your police report, it is time to contact your insurance agent. Inform the agent that your vehicle has been stolen, that you have filed a police report and that you would like to file a claim now. The agent will likely ask for a copy of the police report before moving forward. Answer any of the agents questions and submit the claim.

Wait on the outcome

All that’s left now is to wait for the insurance company and the police to do their work. If you have comprehensive coverage, you should see an insurance payout for the theft of your car. Alternatively, you might see the return of your vehicle if the police can locate it.

Are stolen items in the car covered?

Auto insurance will not cover possessions stolen from within your vehicle. Comprehensive auto insurance will cover theft of the car itself, as well as the damages caused to your vehicle when it was broken into. However, it will not cover individual items that are taken unless they are part of the car. But homeowners, renters and condo insurance all have the potential to protect property stolen from your vehicle.

What to do if the car is recovered

Having your vehicle recovered will save you hassle and money, but there are a few steps you’ll need to take after it is recovered. The sooner it is recovered, the smoother this process will go for you. However, if the car is returned to you in a significantly damaged or unusable condition, you may still end up replacing it.

Assess your car for damages

Step one is to inspect the vehicle for damages. Test it to see if and how it runs. Make sure you also assess the body of the car for structural damages. It may even be wise to have a professional mechanic do this step for you, and your auto insurance may even cover the cost.

Update police report

Now that you know what condition your vehicle is in, it is time to update the police. Doing this ensures that your car is no longer listed as stolen. It also allows you to report the damages caused to your vehicle while it was stolen.

Update insurance claim

With ready access to your updated police report, contact your insurance agent. Inform them that your car is recovered and let them know what condition it was recovered in. At this point, you and your agent will determine how to alter the claim you’ve filed. If the car is totaled, you may still be filing a total claim on it. However, if it only suffered minor damages, you can update the claim to reflect that.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

The exact company will depend on several variables, including what type of coverage you want, what kind of car you have and where you live. For an in-depth look at these companies, read our article, Best Car Insurance Companies of 2020.

Is comprehensive coverage worth it?

Depending on your vehicle, your location and your situation, comprehensive coverage can be a great idea. Insurance exists to offset risks, and instances of higher risk can be balanced out with increased coverage. For more details on comprehensive coverage, read our Comprehensive Insurance article.

How much does comprehensive insurance cost?

The cost varies between states and depends upon vehicle, driver, coverage choices and other information. However, the average cost of comprehensive auto insurance in the United States is around $150 to $200 per year. This relatively low cost when compared to other types, like collision insurance, is because the damages covered by comprehensive occur and are filed upon less often.

Does full coverage cover theft?

No, on its own, full coverage does not work as a stolen car insurance. The only type of insurance to cover car theft is comprehensive coverage.