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Does Car Insurance Cover Theft?

If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy, you’re typically covered for theft and repair costs for damages that occurred during a break in. Comprehensive coverage also helps cover the cost of a stolen vehicle or stolen car parts. But that’s not all you should know about theft and car insurance. Let’s take a closer look at how your vehicle is protected from theft when you have the right coverage in place.

What Is Comprehensive Car Insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance pays for damage caused by accidents that don’t involve colliding with another vehicle or object. That means this type of smart coverage, minus the cost of your comprehensive deductible, pays for damage caused by things like:

  • Theft
  • Collisions with animals
  • Vandalism
  • Fires or explosions
  • Hail or natural disasters
  • Certain falling objects
  • Floods

It’s important to note that comprehensive coverage isn’t legally required, but if you lease or have a loan on your vehicle, your lender usually requires you to carry this coverage. If you outright own your vehicle, it’s still an important coverage to have on your policy since it protects your asset in so many ways.

What Theft Does Comprehensive Insurance Cover?

Wondering specifically what types of theft your auto insurance covers? Take a look at the following chart to find out what types of theft are covered by comprehensive insurance:

Your car is stolen


Your hubcaps are stolen
Your locks are wrecked in a failed theft

Your tires are stolen

Your vehicle is vandalized
Windows are broken

How Comprehensive Insurance Covers a Stolen Car

Comprehensive coverage has two important pieces to understand: deductible and coverage limit. 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. 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 actual cash value of your car.

For example, say your vehicle has a depreciated value of $12,000 and you have a $1,000 comprehensive coverage deductible. Your vehicle is stolen, so you file a policy report and 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).

Does Car Insurance Cover Theft of Personal Property?

Your car policy will cover up to $200 in personal property. If you have more valuable items in your vehicle, your homeowners or renters insurance may step in after the deductible.

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.