UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.
Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.
Depending on the type of insurance policy you have taken out, there is a good chance that your vehicle will be insured against theft. This means that if someone were to steal your car from you, you would be able to get your insurance company to pay out for a new one. They might even be able to pay for a courtesy car in the meantime!
But while your car insurance will have paid for claim and you are already back on the road in a new car, that is not the end of the story. What’s also very important, is that you report the incident to the police.
The police need to hear about any type of claim, regardless of its nature or how things turned out for you. This is not just a matter of getting your car back: it’s a matter of stopping someone who is breaking the law and putting others in danger. By informing the police, you can make them more aware of what’s happening to help put a stop to the crime, prevent others from losing their car, and hopefully help many others to get their vehicles back.
So now you might be wondering what happens if you also get your own vehicle back. If you have filed an insurance claim and received a brand new vehicle, or the money needed to buy one, what will happen when your car then shows up safe and sound thanks to the intervention of the police?
Now you have two cars but an increased premium on your insurance. You probably paid excess but you’ve also put the insurance company out of pocket unnecessarily. So can you ‘undo’ the claim?
What To Do If Your Car Gets Stolen
When your car insurance company settles your claim, it will normally pay you the value of the car. That means you won’t be getting the amount you paid for your vehicle but rather the amount you would get were you to sell it off right now. What’s more, is that this amount will be minus your pre-arranged ‘excess’. Excess being the amount of money that you pay toward the new vehicle before insurance steps in to help.
If you bought a car off of someone for $1,700 then, you might still have to pay $250 excess. And if you find that the car is now only worth $400, that means you’re now only looking at a pay-out of $150!
In other words, the original car is probably still worth more – at least to you – than the amount that you’re getting paid out.
If it were possible to get your car returned then, this would probably be the preference (and you could even go on to sell it for more!). Unfortunately, stolen cars are often times not recovered, so in the short term, the best course of action is to make the claim for the theft.
The good news though is that it can happen and it does. This means that your car insurance policy should make mention of it somewhere, even if it is just a couple of lines. It’s worth reading this then and checking carefully so that you can be certain of precisely what their stance will be should your car turn up again. Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates. Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
What To Expect If Your Car Is Recovered
If your car does turn up again, then it is those few lines that will determine how you should act next.
In most cases, the stance the company will take is that they now own the original property. In other worse, if your car should be found again, it is now down to you to send the car back to the insurance company. You’ll probably need to call and discuss in order to learn how you are required to deliver the car and whether or not you have any other options, such as buying the car back.
Usually, the insurance company will then send round a salvage crew to come and collect your vehicle. By law, it is the responsibility of the insurance company to claim the property – so if you are being asked to pay for it to be transported, then you have the right to refuse.
In some cases, the insurance company may find that the value of the recovered items is not high enough to be worth their while collecting them. In that case, you’ll be able to keep everything. However, it is very important that you still inform the company initially, as otherwise you could find yourself guilty of fraud.
One final complication might be if you have any items inside the car that have importance or sentimental value to you. If you claimed for those items, then technically, they will now be the property of the insurance company too. If you want to try and get them back, then you will need to speak with a representative. In most cases though, you should find they are fairly lenient in these scenarios – they are human too, after all!
Ultimately, it’s a frustrating process either way but all you can do is to follow due process. When your car is stolen, inform the insurance company and the police. If it is returned to you, then make sure to do the same. They should talk you through the rest!