Car thefts can be stressful, particularly when our precious phones, laptops and other personal items are stolen. In such a scenario, one pertinent question comes to mind, does my car insurance cover theft of personal belongings?
Car theft has risen significantly over the years. With new technologies such as keyless assist, the chances of your car being jumped are much higher. An analysis by the National Crime Branch (NCIB), vehicular crimes continued to break records across the United States. Monthly theft totals exceeded 75,000 in 2022. Over a million vehicles were reported stolen in 2022, a 7% increase from last year.
These estimates, however, do not count the break-ins and theft of your items in the car. There are numerous limitations to auto insurance coverage offered by leading companies. If you want to ensure financial safety, you are advised to revisit your car insurance coverage. It is important that you are informed about what you can do if you are a theft victim or does your car insurance covers theft.
What To Do If Your Vehicle is Stolen?
After you find out that your car has been stolen, the best action is to make a police report. Then, apply for the insurance claim as soon as possible.
Making a police complaint immediately after you find out about the crime is imperative. It will ensure that there is a chance your car can be found. It is essential to file the report within 24 hours of the crime. This will help in starting your insurance claim sooner. To help the police find your car, you will have to provide the police with information like your vehicle identification and license plate numbers. Other details like the year, make, model and color of the car are also helpful.
You will also have to be sure about the place and the estimated time of the crime. Furthermore, inform the police in detail about any valuables or items kept inside the car. After filing your report, immediately notify your auto insurance company to start the claim process.
File Insurance Claim
Much like the police, you must prepare the necessary information to provide to the insurance company. It will be used to evaluate your insurance and the payout offer. Most insurance companies will ask you for information such as the car title, the location of keys before the theft, contact of all the persons who had access to your car, vehicle description and insurance policy account number.
The company will scrutinize various aspects leading to the theft to find your possible culpability and complacency in the event. Your insurance company may also run a credit check only to verify if you are in a sound financial position. If you file a claim with significant debts to your name, the company may question whether you are committing fraud. It can increase the likelihood of your claim being denied.
Does Typical Car Insurance Cover Theft?
There are various options, coverages, plans and policy add-on options for car insurance plans. However, car insurance pays for theft only if you have taken comprehensive coverage before the crime was reported.
Comprehensive coverage is an all-encompassing coverage policy, unlike collision insurance. While collision insurance covers only damages arising from other vehicles, comprehensive coverage also includes recovery from vandalism, broken windows or windshields, natural calamities, encounters with animals and vehicle theft.
The coverage typically has a deductible calculated from the cost of your car, loan amount and other such factors. It is suggested to get comprehensive coverage, even if the policy you choose carries higher deductibles. If you think repairing or replacing your car following theft will be financially burdensome then get comprehensive insurance coverage. Even if car insurance costs are higher, it will help reduce your financial load if your vehicle is stolen.
Does Car Insurance Cover Theft After Break-in?
Comprehensive insurance covers a car that has been stolen, along with a host of damages done to your vehicle, including theft of personal items. However, it may not cover theft of things that are not permanent in the car, like the steering wheel, built-in stereo or speakers. If you have lost a laptop, bag or dash cam from a break-in, you are advised to claim renters insurance to replace the personal items.
If You Are Using New Car On a Loan or Lease
In case you have purchased a new car on loan or are using one on a lease, consider purchasing gap insurance. In case of theft, gap insurance will be the difference between your loan value and depreciated amount of the car.
Although not complete coverage, gap insurance will be helpful if your car is stolen and cannot be found. The other plans you could opt for include:
- New car insurance coverage
- Rental car reimbursement coverage
How Much Payout Can I Expect?
Comprehensive insurance covers almost the total actual price of your car except for the deductible, which is an amount you set when you purchase car insurance. It will be the amount you will be paid. However, if the car is recovered and the repair cost is less, you will be compensated only for the repairs. You can expect a delay in your compensation as most car insurance companies, in theft claim cases, wait a few weeks for the police to find the car before completing your claim payment.
The insurance adjuster will provide a fair valuation for your car, keeping in mind the company’s interests and that it may be lower than what you expect. So, to find the answer to your question – does my car insurance cover theft – research all the coverage offered by your provider. The insurance adjuster would consider all aspects to put an estimate on your car. Run your car details with a dealer to realize the current price based on the market.