The United States is home to the highest amount of automobiles in the world. There 240 million cars in this country, which also means there are 240 million cars to steal in this country. Car theft is huge in America. An estimated $8 billion business, automobile theft shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to the FBI, in the United States a car is stolen very 26.4 seconds. The odds that a car will be stolen are about 1 in 200 (with the odds being higher in urban areas).
Does Your Car Insurance Policy Cover Theft?
So with all these cars being stolen, how can you protect yourself? You may be asking yourself – does my car insurance policy even cover theft?
Car insurance policy holders aren’t typically covered for theft unless they have purchased comprehensive auto insurance. This insurance covers any damage to the vehicle including theft, vandalism, natural disasters, fire, etc. Comprehensive insurance is not required by law (like collision insurance is), but because of the additional coverage, many people choose to include this type of insurance on their car insurance policies. Comprehensive insurance is recommended for people with newer and more expensive vehicles.
Another kind of insurance coverage, liability insurance, will not cover theft of your vehicle. Liability insurance protects against claims that your actions caused bodily harm or property damage. Although liability insurance is important to have, and is required by law in most states, it will not cover your vehicle in case of theft.
What Types of Theft Does Car Insurance Cover?
As mentioned, if you have a comprehensive auto insurance policy, your insurer will cover the cost of a theft. But, what type of thefts will your policy cover? Here’s a look at incidents that are related to theft that will be covered by your comprehensive policy:
- Damage that occurs if your car is broken into; for instance, your insurance will cover shattered windows, busted door locks, or a damaged ignition system if they are damaged during an attempted or successful break-in.
- If your vehicle is stolen, your comprehensive auto insurance policy will cover the value of your car.
- If your car is vandalized during an attempted or successful break-in, the provider of your comprehensive auto insurance policy will cover the cost of the damage.
Will Car Insurance Replace / Pay For Your Whole Car if it is Stolen?
If your entire vehicle is stolen and you have comprehensive coverage, your insurer will cover the cost of the stolen vehicle. However, this type of insurance policy will only cover the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of the stolen vehicle. An insurance adjuster will determine how much your vehicle is actually worth and you will receive that amount from your provider. It is highly recommended that you file a police report as soon as you learn that your vehicle is stolen and then contact your insurance carrier to find out how much they will pay out for your stolen car.
Does Insurance Cover Stolen Items From Inside Your Car?
If any of any personal items are stolen from your vehicle during a break-in, your insurance will not cover the stolen items, unfortunately. Comprehensive auto insurance only covers the parts of the car that are permanent; it will not cover any items that are left inside and you could easily take out of your vehicle. For instance, if a tablet, wallet, clothing, or cell phone left inside your vehicle is stolen, your insurance will not cover the cost to replace the item. However, if you have homeowners or renters insurance, there is a chance that these policies will cover the stolen items.
To find out if your homeowners or renters insurance policy will cover personal items that have been stolen from inside your vehicle, contact your provider. If these items are covered, you will need to file two claims: one with your auto insurance carrier and one with your homeowners or renters insurance provider.
Does Car Insurance over Stolen Car Parts?
A comprehensive auto insurance policy will cover the permanent components and features of your car; either inside or outside. For instance, this type of insurance will protect your hubcaps; however, there is a catch: most insurance providers only cover the parts that came with the vehicle. For example, if you installed aftermarket hubcaps and they were stolen, your insurance may not cover them. In other words, most car insurance providers will only cover original factory parts. If you want to protect aftermarket parts, you will need to purchase additional insurance coverage.
Tips To Prevent Your Car From Being Stolen
If vehicle theft is not properly covered by your auto insurance policy, then you need to be extra careful to make sure your vehicle is not stolen. Here are some safety measures you can take to prevent your car from being stolen:
- Lock your car doors. This might be obvious to some people, but a lot of times people forget.
- Do not leave your keys in your car. Also do not have an extra spare key hidden anywhere in or outside your car. You make think you are clever hiding a key behind your license plate or under your car, but these are often the first places that thieves will look.
- Park in well-lit and safe areas. Do never park your Lamborghini in a seedy part of town and expect it to be safe.
- Install security systems in your car. Car alarms and LoJack’s are all good ways to prevent your car from being stolen.
If, in the unfortunate event that your car is stolen, you need to contact your local police department and your insurance company right away. They will investigate the theft of your vehicle. If your vehicle is not located after a certain amount of time, your theft claim will be paid to you (less the amount of your deductible). The insurance company will pay you the market value for your vehicle (Kelly Blue Book, or other). If you have any additional customizations made to your vehicle (such as stereo, wheels, DVD, etc), make sure you get them insured as well. Your insurance company will not pay for them unless you obtained specific coverage for those items.
So, does your car insurance cover theft? Whether you drive one of the most popular cars to steal or not, you are still at risk for theft. Ask yourself – can you really afford to buy a new vehicle if it is stolen without theft coverage? Start shopping around for comprehensive insurance coverage today. Use the internet to compare prices and get a quote specifically tailored to your vehicle. It might not be as expensive as you think.