If your car is stolen does insurance pay you?

If you only have basic auto insurance coverage, your policy won’t pay if your car is stolen. You need comprehensive insurance to cover a stolen car.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 24, 2022

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Things to Remember...

  • Insurance companies will pay on claims for stolen vehicles if you have comprehensive coverage
  • The amount you’re paid will depend on the fair market value of your vehicle at the time it was stolen, minus your deductible 
  • Theft claims will not raise your auto insurance rates 

Do you only pay for your state’s minimum requirements when you buy auto insurance coverage? If so, you may not be eligible to get a stolen car insurance payout in the event of a theft.

Keep reading to learn how your insurance company will handle a stolen car report before it happens so you can buy the right car insurance coverage. Understanding the different types of coverage can ensure you are reimbursed fairly should your car ever be stolen.

Can you file an insurance claim if your car is stolen?

You can only file an insurance claim for a stolen car if you have the right coverage. If you have comprehensive coverage, you can file a car insurance claim for theft. Without this coverage, a stolen car has no protection. 

It’s essential to understand how your vehicle is valued. Due to depreciation, insurance companies do not cover the purchase price of your car. Instead, the company will look at the value of your vehicle on the day that it was stolen. This is your vehicle’s actual cash value, also known as fair market value.

To process the claim, the insurance company needs a copy of the police report. A representative will also interview you regarding the last time you saw your vehicle.

If Your Vehicle Is Recovered

When your vehicle is stolen, there is always a chance it could be recovered. If this happens before the claim closes, the insurance company generally considers the matter a damage claim.

The insurance company determines the cost of repairs based on the threshold in your state. If your damages exceed this threshold, your claim will be treated as a total loss.

If Your Vehicle Isn’t Recovered

If your vehicle isn’t recovered during the time your claim is open, then your claim is considered a total loss. This means your car is valued based on comparable sales in your area.

Once your deductible is subtracted from the determined value, your insurance company will provide you with a check to compensate you for the remainder of your loss.

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What kind of insurance covers a stolen car?

Every state requires motor vehicle operators to carry minimum insurance coverage on their vehicles. The basic coverage requirements, also known as liability, are similar in each state and typically cover some or all of the following:

  • Body injury
  • Property damage
  • Uninsured motorist
  • Personal injury protection

These coverages are designed to primarily protect the driver and passengers of any vehicle impacted by the insured’s negligence, but state minimum insurance doesn’t cover theft.

You need comprehensive coverage for theft. If you only request the policy options required in your state, you may not be insured after a collision or if your car is stolen. Instead, consider comprehensive and/or collision insurance.

Will comprehensive or collision coverage help with a payout?

Just what is the difference between comprehensive and collision insurance coverage?

Comprehensive coverage pays out to repair or replace your automobile if it’s damaged during a natural disaster, vandalized, or stolen. Collision insurance will pay if you are in an accident with another vehicle or object.

Comprehensive insurance is more expensive than liability and collision coverage but offers you peace of mind should something unexpected happen to your vehicle.

The more coverage you choose, the higher your rates will be. Another factor that may increase your rates is the deductible amount you choose. The higher your deductible, the lower your rates will be. 

However, this also means that the insurance company will pay out less for a claim. For example, if the claim is less than your deductible, then you wouldn’t receive a payout at all. It’s a good idea to choose a deductible that you can afford but not one that would leave you without a vehicle.

Will a theft claim raise my auto insurance rates?

If you are determined to be at fault or negligent at the time of the claim, this can cause your insurance rates to increase significantly. However, when your vehicle is stolen by no fault of your own, opening a claim to recover your loss should not impact future insurance rates. 

This does depend on the insurance company and how many claims you have filed in the past. So, shop with multiple insurers to find one with the right coverage for you.

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What You Need to Know About Getting a Stolen Car Insurance Payout

It’s a good idea to discuss every part of your policy with your insurance company before you buy auto insurance, so you know you have the right coverage for all situations, including automobile theft. 

To safeguard your vehicle, purchase a comprehensive car insurance policy that covers you in case of theft. A comprehensive and collision package with reasonable deductibles ensures you are properly protected in all situations and never left without compensation.

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