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: Oct 5, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Motor theft is a huge national problem and, according to the FBI, approximately 721,000 cars are stolen annually
  • Auto insurance companies will pay for a vehicle replacement or repairs after a theft attempt if you have full coverage
  • If you live in an area where there is a high rate of motor vehicle theft, your comprehensive premiums will be high
  • You can lower your premiums by getting a Vehicle Recovery Discount after you install a recovery system in your car
  • The savings for the Vehicle Recovery Discount will be applied only to your comprehensive premiums

If you look at the data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car is stolen once every 44 seconds. Each and every time the minute hand moves on your clock, a car thief has struck and severely impacted someone’s life.

According to data reported by the FBI, theft costs the nation about $4.9 billion per year with an average cost of $7,001 per theft.

While there are technologies that deter thieves, seasoned criminals are getting more and savvier. It’s never been more important to have a system that tracks your vehicle to help recover it. You can also take advantage of things like the LoJack insurance discount and other anti-theft insurance discounts.

If there’s a vehicle theft reported and you have auto insurance, the insurer has the burden of paying for the vehicle’s value.

Since auto theft claims cost an average of $11,934 to settle and are the hardest to investigate, auto insurers offer discounts to their policyholders when they mitigate loss, deter thefts, and make vehicle recovery easier.

Enter your ZIP code into our FREE rate comparison tool above to find the insurance company that offers you the best price for the car insurance coverage you need.

Table of Contents

Will your insurance policy cover vehicle theft claims?

Auto insurance is mandatory almost anywhere when you live in the United States. While carrying auto insurance is the law, buying protection for your car is never required by the state.

The only form of coverage that you must carry by law is coverage that pays for property owned by other and for medical bills.

There’s no requirement that says you have to physical damage coverage on the vehicle that you’re insuring, but you always have the option to add protection to your policy. You will only have coverage for a theft claim if you carry at least comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive, which is a low-cost coverage, pay for damage claims filed after the following:

  • A fire
  • Theft
  • An act of vandalism
  • A flood
  • A related type of claim

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What is the average cost of comprehensive coverage?

Out of all of the different coverage options that you can carry on your auto policy, comprehensive coverage is the least expensive. 

While your rates are strongly influenced by where you live, the type of vehicle you own, and whether or not you’ve filed comprehensive claims in the past, the average amount that a policyholder pays for other-than-collision coverage is $143.45 per year nationwide.

If you compare the averages for other premiums, that number is very low. For example, policyholders pay an average of $308.32 for their collision coverage and another $530.51 per year for their liability protection.

These numbers all fluctuate based on where you live and your driving history, but you’re going to always pay less for your comprehensive protection.

Where is there a high risk of vehicle theft?

Where you live is very important. In some areas, the rate of vehicle theft is so high that comprehensive prices skyrocket when drivers live in those zip codes. Theft is always reported most in metropolitan areas.

It is important to invest in alarm systems and also recovery systems when you live in the following cities with the highest vehicle theft rates:

  • Modesto, CA
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Salinas, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Stockton, CA
  • Pueblo, CO
  • Merced, CA
  • Riverside, CA
  • Vallejo, CA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Odessa, TX
  • Fresno, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Redding, CA
  • Chico, CA
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Las Vegas, NV

What is a Vehicle Recovery System?

A vehicle recovery system is not necessarily an anti-theft device but it is a tracking system designed to help vehicle owners get their cars back after they have been stolen.

Anti-theft devices are installed with the intention of stopping theft from happening. A vehicle recovery system helps police track where a car is so that it can quickly be recovered.

There are multiple types of vehicle recovery systems that are available on the market. Some of the systems are installed by the automaker in the factory and others are aftermarket systems that can be installed after the car is purchased.

Some of the most popular systems you can get a discount for include:

  • OnStar
  • BMW Assist
  • Toyota Safety Connect
  • Lexus Enform
  • Mercedes-Benz Teleaid
  • Mobile IQ
  • Zoombak
  • LoJack

If you have proof that you have an active system above installed in your car, you’ll qualify for a Vehicle Recovery Discount through your insurer.

The discount can be applied as a standalone saving or it can be combined with other Anti-theft discounts for your actions or your passive alarm systems.

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Which companies offer a Vehicle Recovery Discount?

Not all companies offer a discount if you have OnStar, LoJack, or other tracking systems.

If you install the system with the intention of getting a discount, you should check to see if the discount is even available first. Here’s a list of the top-name insurers currently offering this type of discount:

  • 21st Century
  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • American Family
  • Ameriprise
  • Amica
  • Esurance
  • Farmers
  • Geico
  • Liberty Mutual
  • MetLife
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • Safe Auto
  • Safeco
  • State Farm
  • The General
  • The Hanover
  • The Hartford
  • Travelers
  • USAA

What is the discount applied to?

If you have coverage through a carrier above, you need to verify that you’re getting the discount that you’re eligible for. When the discount is applied, it will lower your comprehensive premiums and no other premiums.

What is nice is that you could save up to 25 percent off of those premiums, which can lower your rates substantially if you’re in a high-risk zip code.

If you want to see how much you’ll save each term while you have a vehicle-recovery system, you need to pull up quotes online. You could get quotes directly from the carrier, but that will take too much time.

Use our online comparison system, add the recovery discount, and see what the difference in premiums will be. Enter your ZIP code below to get started.

References:

  1. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/property-crime/motor-vehicle-theft
  2. https://www.nhtsa.gov/vehicle-theft-prevention
  3. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/motor-vehicle-theft
  4. http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2011/08/12/what-steal-anti-theft-devices-zap-car-insurance-rates.html
  5. http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/insurance/vehicle/auto-insurance/massachusetts-consumer-bill-of-rights-for.html
  6. http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/auto-insurance
  7. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/06/06/410990.htm
  8. https://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/evaluating-stolen-vehicle-recovery-systems.html
  9. http://www.lojack.com/Cars-Trucks-And-Classics/LoJack-Stolen-Vehicle-Recovery-System-features/Insurance-Discounts
  10. http://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/ogco2004/rg040517.htm
  11. https://www.allstate.com/auto-insurance/auto-insurance-discounts.aspx
  12. https://www.geico.com/save/discounts/
  13. https://www.safeco.com/products/auto-insurance/discounts