Does My Car Insurance Cover Car Theft?

Comprehensive insurance covers drivers in the event of car theft or damages caused by a break-in. File a police report and insurance claim immediately.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Comprehensive insurance is the only type of insurance that covers car theft or damages caused by a break-in.
Although car theft rates have been trending down in the United States over the last three decades, in 2019 almost $6.4 billion was lost due to vehicle theft.
In light of that statistic, it’s probably a good idea to purchase comprehensive insurance so you will be covered in the event your car is stolen or damaged by a break-in.
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What kind of insurance covers theft?

comprehensive insurance
will cover car theft.
It will reimburse your stolen car or damages on your vehicle due to a break-in, whether or not your vehicle is recovered.

What’s covered by comprehensive insurance in theft incidents?

Is it covered?
Damage resulting from a break-in
Complete theft of the car
Car crashed while stolen
Catalytic converter
Stolen or damaged keys and fob
Other personal property

My car was stolen, what do I do?

Realizing your car is stolen can be overwhelming, but it is important to act fast.
Immediately reporting the vehicle missing to the police will increase the chances of your vehicle being recovered and it will also ensure a smooth claims process.
If you suspect your vehicle has been stolen, here are the steps you should take:

Make sure your car is stolen

Before you start to panic, take a second to breathe and make sure you’re in the right place. Walk around the street or parking lot (maybe you didn’t park exactly where you thought you did).
If you still can’t find your car, you should also check if your vehicle was impounded. Call your local police department with your license plate number to find out.

File a police report (within 24 hours of the car theft)

The faster you call the police to report auto theft, the sooner law enforcement will start looking for your car.
When filing a report, have this important information on hand:
  • Your vehicle identification number (VIN) and license plate number
  • Insurance card or other insurance documentation
  • The year, make, and model of your car
  • The place and estimated time of the theft
  • The personal property inside the car when it was stolen
  • Any identification marks on the car like dents or bumper stickers
  • Whether your car has an internal vehicle location device

File an insurance claim

The more information you give your insurance company, the better they are able to process your claim and determine an appropriate payout.
When making a claim, have this information on hand:
  • Your policy account number
  • Your car title
  • The location of all the keys to your car before and after the theft
  • Names and contact information of everyone who had access to your car
  • Basic description of your car. This includes the mileage, service records, and upgrades
  • Contact information for your auto lender (if applicable)
An important but often overlooked step to filing an insurance claim is a credit check.
If your credit check shows you have significant debt and suddenly claims your vehicle is stolen, it can look suspicious. If your insurer thinks you’re trying to commit fraud, they can deny your claim.

Report your car stolen to your DMV

Your DMV maintains a database of stolen cars that could be useful in recovering your vehicle.
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What will be the payout for my stolen vehicle?

If you have comprehensive insurance, your payout will be the actual cash value of your car minus your deductible.
If your car is recovered but has damages, the maximum payout you’ll receive will be enough to cover the
car repairs

What is an actual cash value?

Actual cash value equals the replacement cost of your car minus the depreciation from wear and tear.
It does not include any insurance deductible you may owe.
Insurance adjusters will consider your car’s make and model, age, accident history, Kelley Blue Book value, and more, to determine your car’s actual cash value.
Only core features will be calculated into your ACV—like wheels and seats.
Unfortunately, your favorite pair of sunglasses left in the center console or your phone isn’t considered a core feature, so it won’t be calculated into your car’s ACV.
If you have
home insurance
renters insurance
, you could file a separate claim to receive compensation for lost personal items.

Can I dispute my payout offer?

If you think your insurer undervalued your car, you can always dispute your provider’s offer by presenting your own research.
Using resources like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, or National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) will tell you more about the value of your car.
If you made any upgrades to your car, for instance a stereo and you have the receipts and photos to prove it, than this may be considered an added value to your car which can raise your ACV.

My car was recovered, now what?

Awesome, you got your car back, but it may not have come back in one piece.
First things first, tell your insurance company ASAP so they can assess the damages.
In most cases, your insurance company will pay for all of your car repairs unless the cost of those repairs is higher than your car’s actual cash value—if that’s the case, a car is considered a total loss. In both cases, your deductible would still be applied.
If your car is recovered after your insurer paid out your claim, your insurance company will probably take ownership. If you haven’t bought a new car by the time that happens, you might have to return the claim you received.

Frequently asked questions

Is comprehensive insurance worth it?

Assessing the potential risks to your vehicle will help you pick the policies that will be right for you. If you live in an area with a high crime rate, you should definitely invest in comprehensive car insurance coverage.

How do I get auto insurance that covers car theft?

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