What Does Insurance Cover If Your Car Is Stolen?
Comprehensive coverage has two important pieces to understand: your deductible and your coverage limit. Understanding these features of your insurance will help you if you ever need to file a claim for a stolen vehicle.
Your deductible is the amount you’ll pay out of pocket towards a covered claim before your insurance company steps in. This is an amount you’ll select when you purchase coverage.
The coverage limit
Your coverage limit is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay toward a covered claim. Usually your coverage limit for comprehensive coverage is the depreciated value of your vehicle — otherwise known as the actual cash value of your car.
How does my insurance help if my car is stolen?
Let’s say your vehicle has a depreciated value of $12,000 and you have a $1,000 comprehensive coverage deductible. If your vehicle is stolen, you’ll want to file a police report, then file a claim with your insurance company. If your claim is covered, you’ll get a check for $11,000 — which is the actual cash value of your vehicle ($12,000) minus the deductible ($1,000).
What happens if my car is stolen?
If the unexpected happens and your car is stolen, there are a few steps you’ll need to follow to help get things back in order:
1. Call the police
The first thing you’ll want to do if you discover your car is missing is file a police report. Not only will this help you potentially get your car back, it’s necessary for the claim you’ll file with your insurance company.
2. Call your insurance agent
Tell your insurance agent as soon as possible that your car is missing and that you’ve filed a police report. You may be asked to provide the case number of the report so the agent can follow up.
3. File a car insurance claim
You can do this over the phone with your insurance agent or later online, but you should do this as soon as possible. These are the things you’ll need when you file a car insurance claim for a stolen vehicle:
- The date and time of the event.
- A brief description of what happened.
- The police report case number.
- Any photos of the location where it was stolen or damaged pieces left behind.
4. Call your bank
If you had any credit or debit cards in your car when it was stolen, call your bank to put a freeze on your credit and head off any fraudulent purchases.
Does Insurance Cover Car Break-Ins?
Typically, your comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy can help cover damage done to your vehicle and up to $200 of covered stolen property. Sometimes, the damage done during a car break-in is minimal, which means it may not cost more than your deductible to have repaired. Before filing a claim after a break-in, you’ll want to make sure the cost of repairing your vehicle is higher than your deductible.
For example, say you have a $1,000 car insurance deductible. One day, you leave work to find someone has broken into your car by smashing the driver’s side window. The average cost to replace a single window on most vehicles is between $250 and $450 dollars. In this case, you would not want to file a claim because the cost to repair your vehicle isn’t higher than your deductible, meaning your insurance wouldn’t cover any of it.
Does Car Insurance Cover Theft of Personal Property?
Your car insurance policy will cover up to $200 in personal property stolen from your vehicle. If you have more valuable items in your vehicle, your homeowners or renters insurance may step in after the deductible. You’ll want to check those policies to make sure they’ll cover belongings stolen from your car.
Does Car Insurance Cover Car Parts Like Stolen Tires and Catalytic Converters?
In the event only parts of your car are stolen, comprehensive car insurance coverage can help pay for the cost of replacing them. As long as your deductible is lower than the cost to replace the parts stolen from your car, your insurance can help cover the expense.
How Can I Prevent Auto Theft?
Of course, the best way to deal with auto theft is to avoid it. Use the following tips to help you prevent car theft:
Lock your doors and take the keys. A quick run into the store can be all the time a thief needs to steal your vehicle. Even warming your unlocked car in front of your home in the winter can be an invitation. Use extra precaution and always lock your vehicle and keep the keys with you.
Pay attention to parking. Take a good look around you and make sure you’re in a well-lit area that has a lot of foot traffic so your vehicle is not an appealing target. Paying a couple dollars more to park in a secure parking ramp versus a dark street may be worth it in the long run.
Hide your valuables. Leaving your purse, wallet, CDs, iPod and other valuable items out in the open might be all the encouragement a passing thief needs. Locking items in the trunk and glovebox is a good way to keep them at hand but not in sight. If you don’t have a trunk, even a blanket draped over your purse can be a deterrent.
Anti-theft devices work. Whether you’re relying on the good, old-fashioned steering wheel club or a more tech-savvy approach, just having one makes your vehicle less attractive to thieves.
Connect with your American Family insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverage in place to protect your vehicle from theft. And if you do face a vehicle theft, your agent is there to guide you through the process and help you with your insurance claims.