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What Happens if a Stolen Car is Found After Insurance Payout

In the face of car theft, the journey from reporting to recovery is undoubtedly distressing. But what happens if a stolen car is found after insurance payout? Read on to know more.
What happens if a stolen car is found after insurance payout
What Happens if a Stolen Car is Found After Insurance Payout
What happens if a stolen car is found after insurance payout? Who owns the items in a recovered vehicle? Can I undo an insurance claim if my stolen car is recovered? Let’s find some answers.
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The heart-sinking moment when you discover your car has been stolen is followed by a whirlwind of emotions and actions. You may find solace in having insurance coverage, but what happens if a stolen car is found after insurance payout? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the intricate web of events that unfold in such a scenario, from the recovery process to the aftermath.

What Happens If a Stolen Car is Found After Insurance Payout?

Discovering your stolen car has been found is a rollercoaster of emotions. Surprisingly, if your insurance company footed the bill, they technically own the recovered car. Despite this, most insurers skip changing the title, leaving the responsibility to the registered owner. Neglecting to inform your insurer could mean they remain in the dark about the recovery, potentially causing complications in the long run.

What Happens if My Car is Recovered During the Claims Process?

If your car is recovered during claims, promptly notify your insurance company. Instead of filing a theft claim, utilize your comprehensive policy to cover repair costs, provided you pay the deductible. For body damage, like dents, insurance covers repairs. If the vehicle is deemed totaled, you’ll receive compensation equal to its market value for a new car.

Who Owns the Items Inside a Recovered Vehicle?

The items inside a recovered vehicle legally belong to the owner. Car insurance solely covers the vehicle, not its contents. The belongings remain the owner’s responsibility even after settling a stolen vehicle claim. Home or renters insurance may cover stolen items, so discussing coverage with your insurer is essential for replacing valuables stored elsewhere.

Does a Car Lose Value After Being Stolen?

Yes, a stolen and recovered car may lose value, contingent on factors like damages and mileage. A total loss with a salvage title can be 20% to 40% less than an unsalvaged car. A “theft-recovered” label can further impact its resale value, while high mileage generally decreases a car’s worth.

What to do If Your Car is Stolen

If your car is missing and likely stolen, follow these ten steps to navigate the situation and understand what occurred.

1. Ensure your vehicle was stolen

Before reporting a theft, confirm if your car is genuinely stolen. Check the parking spot for towing signs and call the towing company if necessary. If borrowed, be cautious; police may not treat it as stolen immediately.

2. Report the stolen car to the police

Once you’ve confirmed your car is stolen (not towed), call the police immediately. This report is crucial for recovery. Provide detailed vehicle information and last seen location. Use the non-emergency line, not 911.

3. Contact your auto insurance company

After notifying the police, your next step is to contact your auto insurance company. Utilize the claims line or online platforms to file a theft claim promptly.

4. Be prepared to give your insurer all the information it needs

When contacting your insurer, have crucial details ready, including the theft date, vehicle location, key locations, car title, access details, and a thorough description of the stolen vehicle.

5. Stay in touch with your insurance adjuster

Keep communication open with your insurance adjuster. If your vehicle is recovered, promptly inform the adjuster to expedite the resolution of any claims.

6. If you have a loan, contact your lender

If your car is financed, inform your lender. Though you’ll still need to make payments, notifying them is a prudent step to keep them informed.

7. Inform the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Notify the DMV about the theft to ensure your vehicle’s stolen status is recorded. This prevents future ownership or title issues and aids in case someone attempts to register the stolen vehicle.

8. Check for possible security camera recordings

Explore the possibility of security camera footage from businesses or neighbors near the theft location. This footage might capture the thief or provide valuable information.

9. Track your car with an in-vehicle communications system

If your vehicle is equipped with in-vehicle communications systems like OnStar, Safety Connect, or Blue Link, use them to aid the police in locating your stolen car.

10. If you have a theft-prevention tracking device, contact the company

Contact the company providing your theft prevention tracking device (e.g., LoJack). Systems like these use radiofrequency technology; some insurers offer discounts or refunds if the car isn’t recovered. Keep the communication lines open for potential settlements.

What Happens if Your Car is Stolen and You Have Full Coverage?

If your car is stolen and you’ve got the full coverage mojo, you’re in luck. The comprehensive part steps up, covering the replacement or repair costs. Just chip in your chosen deductible and your insurance crew will cough up the cash value. It’s the superhero cape of coverage, but remember, full coverage is the magic word here. Liability won’t do the trick. And about that rental car dream? Unless you’ve got rental reimbursement coverage, you’re probably footloose after 30 days, and your wallet might feel the burn.

How to Reduce the Chances of Your Car Being Stolen

In a world where car theft is prevalent, safeguarding your vehicle becomes paramount. Consider these strategies to minimize the risk:

  1. Ensure your car is always locked, as unlocked cars are easy targets. 
  2. Never leave your keys visible inside the vehicle, as they can be an open invitation to potential thieves. 
  3. Conceal valuables from plain view inside the car to make it less appealing to opportunistic thieves. 
  4. Avoid leaving your car title in the vehicle, as it’s a crucial document that could worsen the impact of theft. 
  5. Opt for well-lit and populated parking areas, as darkness provides cover for thieves. 
  6. Invest in an anti-theft system to add an extra layer of security, discouraging theft attempts. 
  7. Have your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto the glass, making your car less attractive to thieves. 
  8. Utilize a GPS tracking device to aid recovery and act as a powerful deterrent against potential theft.

How To File An Insurance Claim For A Stolen Vehicle

Filing an insurance claim for a stolen vehicle involves patience during the investigation and waiting two to eight weeks. An adjuster will assess your case and, if eligible for a total loss claim, negotiate the actual cash value (ACV) to ensure fair compensation for your loss.

A comparison of car insurance quotes can help you get the best deal for your budget. Auto insurance with Beem covers damage to your vehicle, other vehicles or property, and injuries to yourself or others. 

What You Need to Check Once Your Car is Recovered

Upon car recovery, assess for damage or vandalism and estimate repair costs. Verify the presence of personal belongings. Inquire about potential liability issues, like unauthorized use. Confirm insurance coverage for theft and associated damages.

What Info to Give the Police

  • Provide the location and time of your car’s last sighting. 
  • Specify the make, model, year, and color, including any unique features. 
  • Share the license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN). 
  • If applicable, provide details about your GPS or tracking system.

What Info to Give Your Insurance Company

When informing your insurance company, include a list and description of valuables inside your vehicle, like electronics, fitness equipment, textbooks, or tools. Additionally, provide a copy of the police report for their records.

Conclusion

In the face of car theft, the journey from reporting to recovery is undoubtedly distressing. But what happens if a stolen car is found after insurance payout? Armed with information and readiness, you can confidently navigate the aftermath. This guide emphasizes the power of knowledge in safeguarding your assets during unexpected challenges. Stay informed, stay empowered.

Remember, you can always try Beem for the best auto insurance quotes to help you make the right choice. 

FAQs

What happens once the police recover your stolen car?

Once the police recover your stolen car, they will contact you, the owner, to reclaim your vehicle.

Should I keep my recovered stolen car?

You can keep your recovered stolen car, but it’s advisable to be thoroughly inspected for damages.

Does having your car stolen affect your no-claims discount?

Having your car stolen may affect your no-claims discount; check with your insurance provider for specific details.

Does liability insurance cover theft?

Liability insurance typically does not cover theft; comprehensive coverage is needed for theft protection.

Can I reject my stolen recovered car?

You can reject your stolen recovered car but consult with your insurance company for guidance.

What happens when your car is stolen without insurance?

If your car is stolen without insurance, you are responsible for the losses; insurance provides financial protection.

Can I undo an insurance claim if my stolen car is recovered?

You generally cannot undo an insurance claim if your stolen car is recovered; consult your insurer for specific details.

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Author

Picture of Aniket Kulkarni

Aniket Kulkarni

A seasoned Product Manager specializing in car insurance content, Aniket has a passion for simplifying complex insurance concepts. His strategic approach to content development reflects years of experience in the product development industry, coupled with a commitment to providing accurate, reliable information.

Editor

This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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