Car insurance may cover some types of theft if you have got comprehensive coverage on your policy. Comprehensive insurance is going to help you in the following cases:
- Replace your car when it’s stolen
- Replace car parts that are stolen
- Repair damage to the car from a break-in or theft
It’s important to remember that comprehensive insurance isn’t going to cover the theft of your personal belongings, which include things like your phone, your laptop, or any other valuables that were taken from your vehicle.
What Is Comprehensive Insurance?
Comprehensive insurance coverage will help cover the theft or damage to your car that wasn’t caused by a collision. The commonly covered perils under comprehensive coverage include falling objects (like a tree branch or hail), vandalism, or water damage. Comprehensive insurance generally helps cover the theft of the car, stolen car parts, or any damage caused by a break-in (like damaged car locks or a broken window).
Comprehensive coverage is generally required by the lender if you’re financing or leasing your vehicle, and if you own your car outright, then comprehensive coverage may be optional.
Comprehensive Coverage and a Stolen Car
Comprehensive coverage comes with a coverage limit and a deductible. The coverage limit is the maximum amount that your policy is going to be paying towards covering a claim. The limit for the comprehensive coverage is generally the depreciated value of your vehicle, also known as cash value. The deductible is the amount that you’re going to be paying out of your own pocket for a covered claim.
You can select your deductible, for instance, $500, when you’re buying the comprehensive coverage. For example, let’s say that you have got comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible on the car. Your car is going to be several model years old and has a depreciated value of $8,000. If your car ends up getting stolen, you will file a police report and then file a car insurance claim.
For a covered claim, your insurance provider is going to give you a check of $7,500, which is the actual cash value minus the deductible, so that you can replace your stolen vehicle. You should keep in mind that the comprehensive coverage isn’t going to pay out for a rental vehicle as part of your stolen car claim. For that, you would require a rental reimbursement coverage on your car insurance policy.
That optional coverage will be the one that pays for transportation expenses, like a rental car or public transit fare, during the covered insurance claim.
Does Car Insurance Cover Stolen Car Parts?
When it comes to comprehensive coverage, it will help pay for replacing stolen car parts and will help pay to repair the damage done to the car by thieves, up to your coverage limit, and minus your deductible. Comprehensive coverage will not apply to custom parts or any equipment that you have installed on your vehicle, like a high-tech sound system. You can also buy additional coverage for custom parts.
Apart from that, your coverage may specify how it is your car parts will be replaced, whether it’s with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or aftermarket parts. You should keep in mind that your coverage may also factor depreciation into the cost of replacing stolen parts on your vehicle. You should read your policy and talk with your agent so that you can better understand how the coverage works.
Insurance Reimbursement and Stolen Car Claims
If your car has been stolen, and you’ve got comprehensive coverage, you should quickly file a claim with your auto insurer. Your insurer is going to conduct an investigation of the theft, and once the investigation of a covered claim is complete, your insurer is going to reimburse you for your stolen car, up to the comprehensive coverage limit.
Insurance and Catalytic Converter Theft
Your car insurance may help cover the theft of a catalytic converter if you have got comprehensive coverage on your policy. Comprehensive coverage can help pay to replace the catalytic converter and repair the damage done to the car by a thief, up to the coverage limit stated in your policy, and minus the deductible.
A report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) states that converters contain metals like palladium and platinum, which can be sold to recyclers for a profit. The NICB has also noted that thieves can sometimes do a fair amount of damage to other parts of the vehicle when they are removing the catalytic converter. Comprehensive coverage may also help in repairing that damage.
Does Car Insurance Cover the Theft of Personal Items?
Comprehensive coverage doesn’t cover the theft of personal items from your vehicle. Depending on your auto insurer, you could get an optional coverage within your auto policy for personal property. However, the personal property coverage in a renter, homeowners, or condo insurance policy will cover your belongings even when they are away from your place.
Personal property coverage has a deductible and coverage limit. Your policy may also state that coverage limits for your personal property are going to be lower when they are away from your place. That’s sometimes referred to as ‘off-premises’ coverage. You should read your policy and ask your agent, so you know how much coverage you have for the stuff that is in your car.
Auto Theft and Tracking Devices
You can keep your car safer and prevent auto theft by installing an anti-theft device or a tracking device. For instance, you may want to think about installing a steering wheel lock or a gearshift column lock, which are both devices that make it harder for thieves to steal your car. Tracking devices, also referred to as vehicle recovery systems are helpful in locating a stolen car, and most new vehicles come with this type of system, which allows you to purchase and install one on an older car.