Having your car stolen can be an incredibly stressful and frustrating experience. On top of dealing with the loss of your vehicle, you may be wondering if your car insurance policy covers theft.
The good news is that most standard car insurance policies do provide some coverage in the event your car is stolen. Here’s an overview of what that coverage entails and what steps you need to take if your car is stolen.
What Insurance Covers a Stolen Car?
Comprehensive and collision insurance are the two main types of car insurance that will provide coverage if your vehicle is stolen. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage from theft, vandalism, natural disasters, fire, and more. Collision coverage pays for damage from accidents with other vehicles or objects.
If you have comprehensive and collision insurance on your policy, they will typically pay the actual cash value of your vehicle at the time it was stolen, minus your deductible. The actual cash value is generally determined based on the market value, age and condition of the car.
How Much Will Insurance Pay for a Stolen Car?
The amount your insurance company will pay depends on the actual cash value of your vehicle, after deducting any applicable deductibles. If you owe more on your vehicle than its actual cash value, your insurance will usually only pay up to the actual cash value amount.
For example, if your vehicle is worth $15,000 but you still owe $18,000, your insurer would pay the $15,000 (minus deductible) — not the $18,000. This is because insurers will not pay more than what they determine the car was actually worth at the time of the loss.
Getting Coverage for Items Stolen from Your Car
If personal items are stolen from inside your vehicle, this loss may also be covered under either your comprehensive car insurance or renters/homeowners insurance — depending on the policy and type of items taken.
To claim for any stolen items, prepare a thorough list of all lost objects with their monetary values. Pictures and receipts also help substantiate the claim. Some insurers may have limits on high-value items like laptops or jewelry, so check your individual policy.
Can You Get Car Insurance After Your Vehicle is Stolen?
Yes, you can obtain car insurance coverage after your vehicle has been stolen. However, getting affordable coverage may depend on:
- Whether or not you had insurance at the time of the theft
- Your driving record
- Your credit score
- What type of replacement car you purchase
Insurance companies may view someone who previously had uninsured a vehicle as high-risk. But every insurer uses different formulas to determine premiums — so shop around for the best rates. If your stolen car claim was successfully paid out, make sure to let agents know this as it indicates you filed your claim properly.
Reporting a Stolen Vehicle to Insurance
As soon as you become aware your car has been stolen, notify local law enforcement and obtain a police report. Report the loss to your insurer right away as well, along with providing the police report and your claim of the events. Have your policy number handy, details on what was stolen, and be prepared to answer any questions the claims adjuster may have.
The key is alerting your insurer quickly, cooperating fully with authorities, documenting all theft-related details and following your claims adjuster’s instructions carefully. This helps facilitate getting your claim successfully paid out per the conditions of your unique policy.
While having your vehicle stolen is extremely disruptive and difficult to deal with practically and financially — comprehensive auto insurance coverage can provide vital protection. Carefully review the details of your car insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered in the event of auto theft.
January 18th, 2024
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