Car Theft Insurance: Does Your Policy Cover Auto Theft Insurance?

June 14, 2013
Man trying to steal a car

As confusing as insurance policies can be you may be wondering, does auto insurance cover theft, of not only the vehicle, but also your possessions inside of it? Each individual driver's policy will be different in regards to theft but there are several common factors that should apply to nearly everyone.

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Theft of Your Vehicle
If your vehicle is stolen your insurance policy may cover it, assuming the car isn't returned. In order for this to be the case you must have full coverage that includes comprehensive insurance. Without it, your best hope is that local law enforcement will be able to retrieve your vehicle.

Theft of Vehicle Parts
If your car stereo or any other part attached to your vehicle in permanent manner is stolen, you could covered by your car insurance. Any part that is stock to the vehicle will be covered by your auto insurance, assuming again that you have full coverage. Aftermarket additions, even stereo upgrades, will not be covered by your auto insurance in any way, shape or form.


Theft of Possessions
While it is never a good idea to leave personal property inside of your vehicle, sometimes it can be unavoidable. If someone breaks into your car and steals your phone, iPod or something else of value, your auto insurance will not cover it. If you own a home and have homeowners insurance it will cover your loss if you have proof you actually owned the lost items, usually in the form of a receipt. In such cases you should always file a police report and follow the proper procedures, and with any luck you can recoup your losses.

Car Theft Insurance
Some auto insurance providers have what is called car theft insurance available for you to buy. It's used for this exact reason and most often is purchased by those who rent and don't have a homeowners policy. If you have auto theft insurance, your possessions would be covered under this policy.

Policy Types
Apart from liability, you can cover yourself against other forms of damage. OTC (other than collision) coverage will possibly cover you as long as you have checked the policy conditions. Most policies will have some level of exclusions but if you specify cover against the possibility of theft when you purchase the policy, you will be covered if your vehicle is stolen.

Choosing Coverage
In every instance, you will always have to pay a deductible, even for liability insurance. It pays to weigh the balances as to whether the value of your vehicle is worth insuring against theft. If you drive a $500 beater, you might think that theft cover is not worth it, owing to the poor value of the car. However, if you own a $25,000 SUV, you will want to know that you will get your money back if someone steals it.

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You will need to report a vehicle theft to the police or local sheriff and you will also have to tell your insurance company that the car has been stolen. If the car is not recovered after a given length of time, your insurance will pay you out. If the car is recovered but heavily damaged, they will assess that damage and pay for repairs or declare the car a total loss.

Other Key Aspects of Auto Theft Insurance Coverage

Not all auto theft insurance coverage is equal. It all depends on the kind of policy you have. You might believe you're fully covered only to discover that you're not. Finding that after the fact can be a horrible shock.

It's always important to know exactly what your policy does cover. Read the policy carefully to understand your auto theft insurance coverage. If you have questions, ask your agent. Remember, theft insurance is only there automatically with comprehensive coverage.

Type Of Vehicle
Some vehicles are more likely than others to be targeted by thieves. They'll be stolen and end in chop shops. You can keep your insurance rates lower and improve your auto theft insurance coverage by owning a vehicle that's not on this list. That doesn't guarantee your car won't be stolen, but it does make it a little less likely.

Depreciation

The value of your car depreciates very rapidly. Your auto theft insurance coverage will only pay the depreciated value. If you're still paying off the vehicle, you could be left well out of pocket by your car being stolen--especially when you take the deductible into account. This is where knowing exactly what coverage you have is important.

Payment Delays
You're going to have to wait between 3 and 4 weeks for your auto theft insurance coverage to pay out. Unless your coverage includes a rental car, you're going to have to pay for another vehicle to drive in that time, and that expense can amount up. If there's a problem with your claim it can take even longer. This is where having good auto theft insurance coverage is worth the small extra annual expense.

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In Case of a Theft: Car Insurance Tips

When you experience a car theft, car insurance can seem like it will help you. Unfortunately, that might not always be the case. Theft insurance isn't always what you think it is. This is why it's important to know exactly what's covered by your car insurance when it comes to theft. The right auto theft insurance can make a great deal of difference to your wallet.

Rental Car in the Coverage
If your car is stolen and not recovered, you'll be reimbursed for its value. That's fine, but a long period can elapse between the theft and the check for theft car insurance. What do you do in the meantime?

You need a vehicle, so you'll have to rent one. If you have it for any length of time, that's going to cost a fair amount of money. One way to prevent that expense is to incorporate a rental car into your insurance coverage. The added expense to you is very small, and in the event your vehicle is stolen, it will more than pay for itself.cpp

Anti-Theft
Most modern vehicles come with immobilizers. That might seem reassuring, but most thieves are sophisticated to bypass them. The systems installed by the manufacturer aren't always the very best. You're better off having a professional put in an aftermarket system which can deter thieves.

This can also reduce your theft car insurance rates, as it makes your vehicle safer. Be aware, though, that a determined thief can bypass most systems if they really want your vehicle. Some of the best measures you can take are the oldest and simplest, such as parking in an area that's well lit. Make sure your vehicle is locked and that all the valuables are out of sight, either in the glove box or the trunk. Better yet, do not keep any valuables in your car.

Police
Before you can claim on theft car insurance, you'll need a police report. As soon as you know your car has been stolen or vandalized, inform the police. As soon as you have a report number, contact your insurance company. This will set the wheels in motion. The longer you delay, the longer it will take to receive your check, and delaying too long could affect your claim.

Old Cars
Owning an older car doesn't leave you immune from theft. When these cars are taken, it's usually to be dispatched to so-called "chop shops" for the value of their parts. The chances of recovering one of these vehicles is small. The problem is that people often only have minimal insurance on older cars, so they can't recoup the value of the vehicle, leaving them out of pocket. It's worth having proper theft car insurance to make sure you don't lose out.

Roadside Assistance
Car theft doesn't always mean having your car stolen. It could be broken into and damaged so you can't drive it. If that happens, you'll need to have it towed. This is where roadside assistance is important. You'll be able to have your vehicle towed without having to pay for it. Some theft car insurance policies offer roadside assistance for a small fee. If you don't have it from any other source, it can be a lifesaver in some instances.

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Theft Insurance Claims Made Easy


Auto theft insurance claims can be frustrating to the owner of the vehicle for several reasons, the first of which is that your car has been taken from you. Unfortunately, it only gets worse. In most cases the insurance company starts with the assumption you had something to do with the theft. That being said, your claim could take some time to process. So what do you when your car has been taken without your permission?

Gather the Proper Information
After calling the police to file a report, before you call your insurance provider and report that the car has been stolen, you will need to gather some information. Locate your vehicle's title and any leasing or finance information about the automobile. Next you want a physical description of the vehicle. Take a few moments to jot down information about the car so you have it ready beforehand and don't have to try and remember while on the phone. The insurance company may want to know where all of the keys were, if there was any personal property in the vehicle and the names and contact information of anyone who had access to the vehicle.

Call the Insurance Company
Now you are ready to call your insurance company and file a missing vehicle report and a stolen car insurance claim. Stolen cars are commonplace in today's society and some insurance companies will have you fill out a questionnaire about the experience. In addition, you can expect a lot of questions from a lot of people. Often these claims get bounced from department to department, and most insurance companies try to rule out fraud on your part. Don't be alarmed, but answer all questions truthfully and cooperate with the company and your claim should go through without any problems.

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More about Buying Theft Insurance for Your Car

Indemnity
To ensure that you get full coverage, check the policy wording to confirm that you will be indemnified against a full range of risks. This can be from having an item stolen from your car to the theft of the entire car.

Quotes
The quotes you get for stolen car insurance will often form part of a package that will include coverage for other risks, such as damage after an accident. Be aware that your quote can be affected if there are situations in place that increase the likelihood of your car being stolen, for example, living in a high crime area. Obtain quotes from several different insurance companies to enable you to compare and get the best deal.

Improve Risk
If it is possible to undertake some work to reduce the risk of your car being stolen, this should be undertaken to obtain a better quote. Use a garage that can be locked or fit a car alarm and an immobilizer. Keep spare car keys locked away to prevent them being stolen during a burglary.

Finding the Right Theft Insurance Policy for You

Finding the right theft insurance policy can be a tricky business. All auto insurance companies operate policies with certain levels of benefits. However, these usually come with extra charges.

Added Extras
When buying auto insurance, theft is usually an added option. Theft, collision and accident are usually lumped together but you choose one of the three separately. Accident forgiveness is another option that insurers add along with theft. Needing a theft policy on your vehicle is usually determined by how high you value it. All companies will promote the idea that drivers should have more than the basic legal minimum and some drivers will indeed feel the need for extra protection in cases where they lose a car to theft.

How to Find a Policy
If you have a local broker who is not aligned to any particular company, you could contact them and ask their advice on auto insurance theft policies. They will want to know exactly what type of coverage you are looking for and they will be able to provide you with a choice of providers who can offer coverage at varying rates. You can then opt for one of these choices or try a search online. There are comparison sites popping up all over the place now, so finding a site will not be difficult.

What to Look For
Finding a company who can provide you with the right level of coverage on top of theft is essential. You will need to weigh up the balance sheet and look at the small print because companies often offer extra coverage. But when it actually comes to making a claim there will be a clause in the contract which you may not have spotted. This gives them the power to refuse your claim. Watch out for hidden clauses and legal definitions in your contract before you sign. Find out about the procedure for reporting a stolen car and ask how quickly the company acts on your behalf to offer you a free replacement car in the event that yours is not recovered.

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