Does Insurance Cover Auto Theft?

It is probably best to divide this question as stolen cars and items taken from them. Owners must have Comprehensive auto insurance coverage to be able to claim for stolen cars and damages during theft. Sometimes, they are more interested in what is inside than the vehicle itself and thieves break in to get them. Car insurance doesn’t cover stolen items from automobiles but home content insurance often covers personal items outside of home as well.

If a car isn’t found within a few weeks most insurers assume that it will never be recovered 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 coverage. 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.

If the vehicle is found and repairable, Comprehensive coverage will pay for repair costs. If you have Rental Reimbursement Coverage you can probably have a rental car while yours is being repaired or up to a month in most cases.

Comprehensive car insurance coverage 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.

Comprehensive coverage 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. Comprehensive is usually sold together with liability and collision coverage.

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 car in the process like broken windows and a home insurance claim for the lost personal items like laptops.

Furthermore, if an equipment isn’t an original part of an automobile like an expensive entertainment set installed later, insurers wouldn’t pay for its theft unless you have told them about such improvements and additions in advance and paid the required additional premium. However, some companies may be happy to pay for improvements up to $1,000, even if they didn’t know about them.

Every 45 seconds someone’s car is stolen, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The FBI reports that there are over 800,000 thefts of motor vehicles, which cost nearly $5 billion across the country every year. 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.

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.

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. Insurers can hold policyholders responsible and deny a claim if they leave it unattended while the engine is running on a busy street. This raises suspicion that they did everything they can to make sure someone takes it. 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. 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 insurer. You probably need to complete a form.
  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.