Does Insurance Cover Auto Theft?

Vehicles are usually one of the most valuable possessions many people have and they look after them well. However, they still get stolen, broken in to get to items within and vandalized. You should never assume your car insurance will cover everything because there are so many different arrangements. Let’s find out what type of coverage you need to be protected against these losses and damages?

According to the Insurance Information Institute  every 45 seconds someone learns that his/her car has been taken from its garage, driveway or parking spot. The FBI reports that there were 707,758 thefts of motor vehicles that cost nearly $5 billion across the country in 2015. You may think that police will retrieve it quickly but only 50% of stolen cars are reunited with their owners, according to NHTSA. A few of those recovered vehicles are smashed beyond repair anyway and most require some sort of work.

According to NHTSA, over 40% of auto thefts and break ins were the result of driver mistakes, like leaving the key in the ignition, not locking it properly and leaving valuables visibly inside.

If 2 cars get lifted every minute it is not a rare occurrence and it can happen to you too. Being left high and dry like that without a vehicle to go to work or take children to school can affect your life and having no insurance to pay for another similar vehicle can affect finances. So, if you own a car that is worth its salt you’d better make sure it is well taken care of against most perils and not only a few well-known ones.

stolen vehiclesIt is probably best to divide this question as stolen cars and items taken from them. Comprehensive auto insurance coverage covers stolen cars and damages and vandalism during the theft. Sometimes, they are more interested in what you have inside than the vehicle itself and they smash it in the process of getting it. You can also claim its current market value if it is stolen and never found.

If a car isn’t found within the first few weeks most insurers assume that it will never be and pay enough money to buy another vehicle. If it turns up at a later stage then it is considered to be the property of the carrier as they fully paid for it.

Then, there is the vandalism to your automobile that is also covered by comprehensive component. Sometimes it may be difficult to determine if the damage is caused because someone was trying to steal something from inside or being stupid, destructive or drunk. In any case, you don’t need to worry about it.

In addition, comprehensive insurance coverage pays for damages that are caused by storm, flood, other weather conditions, falling objects, fire and accidental occurrences. It also pays for animal collisions, like hitting a deer. This comes with a deductible of around $300 – $500 and you can increase it if you can save money by doing so. Deductibles are the sums you need to pay before the compensation kicks in to pay the rest.

It is optional for people who own their vehicles unencumbered. But people who leased or bought a car with a loan will need to have it as lenders and lessees usually require the vehicle to be insured fully. It  is hardly ever sold without liability and collision.

Does Car Insurance Include Theft of Personal Items?

When you buy a “full” policy you may be under the impression that it takes care of everything but it doesn’t. Full coverage provides pretty wide protection as it comes with Liability, Collision and Comprehensive coverage. However, it doesn’t help with personal items in automobiles regardless of them being ruined in an accident or due to break ins.

Typically, personal items are covered by home or renters’ policies. In other words, you may have to make an automobile insurance claim for the damages to it in the process like broken windows and a home claim for the lost personal items like laptops.

Furthermore, it is only concerned with other equipment that is fixed if they are specifically included in an auto policy. If an equipment isn’t an original part of an automobile like stereo, carriers wouldn’t pay for it unless you have told them about such improvements and additions in advance and paid the required additional premium.

How to Protect a Vehicle against Intrusions?

You cannot ignore basic responsibilities of protecting your auto, just because you insured it fully. Owners are required to do their best to avoid losses. For example, companies wouldn’t pay for damages that are caused intentionally by policyholders. You cannot just smash it with a baseball bat and expect the carrier to pay for it.

In the same way, they can hold you responsible and deny a claim if you leave it unattended while the engine is running on a busy street. This raises suspicion that you did everything you can to make sure someone takes it. The policy requires you to do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t happen. So, here are a few things you can do to make sure thieves or opportunist joy riders don’t target it.

  1. Don’t ever leave the key in the ignition no matter for how short period and where it is parked. That would be a tempting invitation, not protecting against. Also, make sure all the windows and doors are locked.
  2. Park it in the garage or driveway if you have one. Otherwise, look for a well-lit spot. Always, take personal items like wallets, handbags, laptops and cell phones with you when you are leaving.

What to Do After an Auto Theft?

Technically, you buy an automobile insurance policy in the event that all your attempts to safeguard it fails and you need to make a claim. Here is how to go about it.

  1. The first thing you need to do is to file a report. Most companies start their process with this report. Also, Notifying the police of a stolen vehicle protects you if the thief causes damage to others with your car.
  2. You should report the incident to the company and ask them what they want you to do next. You probably need to complete a form online, by phone or post.
  3. Contact the lender if you have a vehicle loan and let them know of the claim details so that they can contact the agent if they need to.
  4. Let them know if it is found. If not, you probably need to start looking for a new car. You will probably be paid the open market value of it as a total settlement.

Losing a car can cause sudden inconvenience. If you have full coverage, it will at least take away the financial worries. Normally, most vehicle insurers settle a theft claim pretty quickly as after a while it becomes a hopeless case. Most would look into paying you after a month of no news. So, prepare yourself accordingly. If you have rental reimbursement you can probably have a rental car for a month and it will probably end after 30 days. So, you should look for a replacement and be ready to buy it as soon as you receive the settlement.