Car Insurance for A Stolen Vehicle

Car insurance for a stolen vehicle can make it difficult to get coverage if you don't have comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive insurance covers a vast amount of non-accident incidents, from vandalism to theft.

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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 24, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Tens of thousands of cars are stolen every year, with older cars being a big target due to the value of their parts
  • Comprehensive coverage is your best option in case your car is ever stolen
  • Be proactive about making your car safe; get security devices and/or be sensible and alert to your surroundings

Having your car stolen is frequently thought to be something that only happens to other people, but the reality is it can happen to anyone, including you. When you walk out to your car with keys in hand and find a vacant spot to greet you, the actuality of auto theft could be upon you.

The amount of stolen car payout you will receive will depend partially on your vehicle, insurance policy, and the amount you still owe.

If you don’t have comprehensive coverage then you don’t stand to get anything; however, just having this option doesn’t guarantee payment.

Find out what your stolen car insurance payment would be by contacting your car insurance company!

What do you do when someone steals your car? Here is what you need to know if do if you think your car has been stolen. Make sure that your car wasn’t towed for any reason, such as a no-parking zone or a fire hydrant. If your car is stolen, then you need to address it immediately with the police, your insurance company, and the titleholder of your car.

Do you have to pay for a stolen car? Depending on the type of insurance coverage you have, your auto insurance company may pay you for your stolen car, but there are many factors that can affect the results of a payment from your auto insurance company.

Be sure to enter your ZIP code above for a FREE car insurance comparison!

Car Theft in the United States

Tens of thousands of cars are stolen every year in the United States. The popular choices of make and model vary with car thieves from year to year and from state to state. While pickup trucks are usually hot (no pun intended) in Texas every year, in 2009 most states reported a high theft incident for Hondas and Toyotas.

Cars are stolen for a variety of reasons, and not all cars that are stolen are the latest model, as you can see below.

The ten most stolen vehicles in 2009 are:

  • 1995 Honda Civic
  • 1991 Honda Accord
  • 1989 Toyota Camry
  • 1997 Ford F-150
  • 1994 Chevy C/K 1500
  • 1994 Acura Integra
  • 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
  • 1994 Nissan Sentra
  • 1988 Toyota Pickup
  • 2007 Toyota Corolla

Older model vehicles are frequently stolen because of the value of their parts.

They are also less conspicuous as stolen vehicles as they’re cruising down the highway to their new home, whether it’s a chop shop or a boat headed overseas. Some stolen cars simply re-enter the world as a “new” car with new plates and a new VIN.

Other cars are disassembled and raided for their parts.

Some cars are shipped overseas and sold illegally on the black market.

Many cars are stolen by gang members to be used one time for a drug exchange; then the valuable car parts are sold off with the rest of the car being junked.

A handful of cars are taken every year just for a joyride and then abandoned.

Some stolen cars are recovered, but many times the cars are irrecoverable, which is a total loss for the car owner.

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Insurance Coverage for Stolen Cars

What does insurance cover when your car is stolen? Not every car insurance policy covers auto theft, but if you have comprehensive insurance for your car, there is a good chance you have coverage for a stolen vehicle.

Having comprehensive insurance, however, does not automatically cover every type of vehicle theft, so you should review your policy or speak to your agent if you have any questions or concerns regarding it.

Comprehensive insurance covers a vast amount of non-accident related auto incidents, such as fire, vandalism, and theft. In the case of theft, your policy may require that you follow certain protocols in order to justify a claim. For example:

  • You may be required to have security equipment installed in your vehicle
  • You may not be covered if your car was stolen because you left the keys in it and the doors unlocked when you ran into the convenience store
  • You may not be covered if you loan your car to someone who happens to not return it

No matter how your car is stolen, it is imperative to file a police report and notify your insurance company immediately. If your car is financed or leased, you also need to advise the title holder of the theft.

Depending on your policy, your insurance company will pay you accordingly. You may or may not receive the full value for the car depending on depreciation, so you could end up owing an additional balance to your finance company even after the insurance company pays out the claim.

The time it takes to receive a payment will depend largely on the police department and the expected recovery process.

Typically, if a car isn’t recovered in the first 72 hours, it is usually never recovered. There is a 70 percent recovery rate for cars stolen in the United States.

If your car is recovered, there will be no insurance payment except for potential damages incurred during the theft that are covered by your comprehensive policy.

This could include vandalism, a stripped car, or accident-related damages.

In order to receive any possible payment for a stolen car, you will need to provide your insurance company with a copy of the police report. Some insurance companies may negate your claim if there is a substantial delay from the time your car was stolen to the time when you reported it, so act promptly.

Securing Your Car

There are some very basic things you can do to secure your car and take preventive measures from getting it stolen. Today most cars come with factory installed devices, but you can also install aftermarket devices. Additionally, there are some simple precautions you can take when driving or parking your car.

Additionally, there are some simple precautions you can take when driving or parking your car.

It is common for most cars today to have the VIN etched right into the glass, which deters a potential thief by making a stolen car easier to identify.

New cars also frequently have an audible alarm system installed that may also lock the ignition or steering column if the alarm is set off. Alarm systems do not have to be factory installed and can be added to your car at any time by a qualified installer.

Some vehicles are equipped with tracking devices so that your car can be found through a GPS (Global Positioning System). This type of device has proved invaluable in recovering stolen vehicles before they incur any substantial damage. They also help capture the thief more quickly.

Implementing some security procedures into your routine is also very beneficial. Never leave valuables (like your GPS or iPod) in plain sight in your car because it could tempt a thief to break into your car.

If you need to hide something in your car, do so before you get to your destination.

If you park your car and then hide your purse or laptop in the trunk, an onlooker who happens to be a thief may now target your car instead of someone else’s because they know there are potential valuables in the car.

A few sensible, safety precautions include:

  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Keep your car locked at all times
  • Make sure no one is hiding in the back seat of your car when you get in
  • When you are driving, be sure to keep your doors locked so no one can jump in unexpectedly and carjack you

If your car gets stolen, advise the police, your insurance company, and the title holders immediately and file all necessary paperwork. If you have car insurance coverage for a stolen car, file a claim with your insurance company.

Even if you do not have comprehensive insurance, you should still notify your insurance agent of the stolen car.

It is possible that your insurance payments could be temporarily suspended while the car is absent.

Comprehensive insurance can be invaluable, especially if your car is newer or you can’t afford to replace your car.

To find affordable comprehensive insurance from a reputable agent, compare quotes online for FREE now by entering your ZIP code!

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