If my car gets stolen, does my insurance cover it?

In order for car insurance to cover a stolen car, you must have comprehensive coverage. If you have car insurance that covers a stolen car, file a police report and inform your insurance company.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Your insurance company will only cover a stolen vehicle if you carry comprehensive coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage will also cover any other non-collision damage
  • If your car has been stolen, the first step is to file a police report

Car insurance covers the policyholder against several different scenarios.

While most people are concerned about buying coverage for protection following an accident, some insurance policies are built to cover more than just your liability interests.

One of the many scenarios where a fully comprehensive insurance policy will cover is when a car is stolen.

Whether or not your personal auto insurance policy will provide coverage against theft depends on the type of policy you carry and the types of coverage you have built into the contract.

Read on, and learn about car insurance theft protection and how it works so that you can buy a new policy or modify the one you are currently carrying.

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Why does basic insurance not protect a vehicle when it is stolen?

White car speeding on wet road; rain; driving

A basic car insurance policy only includes personal liability coverage that will pay for Bodily Injury and Property Damage sustained to a third party.

In addition to the required liability limits, you may be required by the state to carry other forms of protection like Medical Payments and Uninsured Motorist.

While these supplemental requirements do provide you with a form of protection, they do not provide coverage for your car.

State officials set the car insurance minimum requirements, but the requirements are only in place to protect drivers and pedestrians if they get injured because of a collision.

If your car is financed or leased, you are required by the finance company to carry physical damage, but the state has no interest in you buying physical damage coverage. This is why a basic policy will never include protection for theft or vandalism.

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What type of coverage must you purchase for theft protection?

If you are in the process of reviewing your insurance or you would like to buy a new plan, you need to know what type of coverage you need for theft protection.

In order to satisfy a finance contract, or simply to get peace of mind, you will need to add comprehensive coverage onto the policy.

Comprehensive is a form of physical damage coverage that provides protection against claims for losses that are caused by:

  • Fire
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Other losses that do not involve a collision

If you are adding comprehensive onto your insurance policy to satisfy the lenders, you also need to purchase collision coverage for the same reason.

Comprehensive car insurance is even more important if you live in an area with a high number of vehicle thefts. This coverage can reimburse you for the actual cash value of your car if it were to be stolen.

You may be apprehensive about adding a new car insurance coverage because of the rate hike, but, fortunately, many car insurance companies actually offer discounts if you protect your car with anti-theft devices like the LoJack system or steering wheel bar.

That can help offset the cost of comprehensive car insurance and make sure your car and finances are protected further. This is especially helpful if you live in one of the 15 worst states for highest vehicle theft rates. Often, your insurance rates can rise if you live in a high theft area, even if you haven’t been the victim of car theft.

What does collision coverage pay for?


Unlike comprehensive, collision coverage will pay for damage that is caused in a moving accident regardless of who is found to be at fault.

While your company will typically only pay when you are the negligent party, there are unique cases.

This can be beneficial when you are not at fault and are battling the other insurer for a claims payment or when the other driver was not identified.

What coverage options are included in a fully comprehensive policy?

As you are building an insurance policy, you should consider more than just what could happen in the event of a vehicle theft.

Theft can be a huge concern because replacing a car that you might still be financing creates a huge problem, but there are other situations that are just as likely to happen.

The best insurance policies are those that protect you against all of the worst case scenarios.

A fully comprehensive policy will include the following coverages:

  • Bodily Injury
  • Property Damage
  • Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Towing and Labor
  • Rental Car Coverage
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment

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How does car insurance work when your car is stolen?


Now that you understand the limitations of a basic insurance policy and how supplemental coverage can be added on, the next step is to learn how your insurance works when you file a claim for a theft.

Theft claims are unique because the car cannot be inspected for damage. This is why you can expect the process to be a bit different than the process of filing a collision damage claim.

Here are the steps for filing and collecting on a claim:

– File a Police Report

When you discover your car has been stolen, the first people to call will be the police. The police will take a report and will issue an APB so that the car can be located.

The sooner the report is filed the greater the chance the car will be recovered. You should also know that your insurer will not process a claim for theft without this report

– Call Your Insurance Company

The next step is to file an insurance claim with your insurer. You will need to provide the details on where it was stolen, when you last saw it, and what the police report number is.

The company will file a claim and may have a waiting period to see if the car will be recovered in a reasonable time. If you have rental car coverage, you will be able to rent a replacement car while you wait without having to pay out-of-pocket.

If the Car Is Not Recovered

If your car is recovered, the company will assess the damage and then issue a payment to repair this damage up to the fair market value of the car.

If the car is not recovered in a reasonable amount of time it will be considered a total loss.

Your claims payment will be calculated based on the resale value of the car and will include depreciation.

Many times you can negotiate on value when it is concerning a stolen car.

If you need a new car insurance policy that provides comprehensive coverage, it is time to start shopping for the best rates.

Be sure to price the cost of other types of coverage, and build the best policy that will help you during difficult times where you need the expert support.

Enter your zip code below and find the right type of car insurance coverage for FREE!

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