Will Car Insurance Cover Stolen Items? – Car theft is a serious problem that affects millions of drivers every year. According to the FBI, there were an estimated 721,885 motor vehicle thefts in the United States in 2019, resulting in a loss of $6.4 billion.
If your car is stolen, you may wonder if your car insurance will cover the loss of your vehicle and the items inside it. The answer depends on the type of car insurance you have and the nature of the theft.
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Types of Car Insurance
There are different types of car insurance that provide different levels of coverage for theft. The most common ones are:
- Liability insurance: This is the minimum level of car insurance required by law in most states. It covers the damages and injuries you cause to others in an accident, but it does not cover your own vehicle or belongings. Therefore, liability insurance will not cover theft at all.
- Collision insurance: This covers the damages to your vehicle caused by a collision with another vehicle or object, regardless of who is at fault. However, it does not cover theft or other non-collision events, such as fire, vandalism, or natural disasters.
- Comprehensive insurance: This covers the damages to your vehicle caused by non-collision events, such as fire, vandalism, natural disasters, and theft. This is the only type of car insurance that will cover the theft of your vehicle. However, it may not cover all the items inside your vehicle.
- Third-party, fire and theft insurance: This is a type of car insurance that is common in some countries, such as the UK and Australia. It covers the damages and injuries you cause to others in an accident, as well as the damages to your vehicle caused by fire or theft. However, it does not cover collision damages or other non-fire or theft events.
What Items Are Covered by Car Insurance?
If you have comprehensive or third-party, fire and theft insurance, you may be able to claim for the theft of your vehicle. However, you may not be able to claim for the personal items that were stolen from your vehicle, such as your laptop, wallet, or cell phone. Car insurance only covers the components and features that are permanent, pre-installed, or bolted parts of the car. To cover stolen personal items, you may need a renters or homeowners insurance policy or a special endorsement from your carrier.
Some examples of items that are usually covered by car insurance are:
- Stereo system: If your stereo system was factory-installed or permanently fixed to your vehicle, it should be covered by comprehensive or third-party, fire and theft insurance. However, if your stereo system is detachable or portable, such as a CD player or an MP3 player, it may not be covered.
- Navigation system: If your navigation system was built-in or hardwired to your vehicle, it should be covered by comprehensive or third-party, fire and theft insurance. However, if your navigation system is removable or wireless, such as a GPS device or a smartphone app, it may not be covered.
- Custom parts and equipment: If you have added any custom parts or equipment to your vehicle, such as rims, spoilers, or decals, they may not be covered by standard comprehensive or third-party, fire and theft insurance. You may need to purchase additional coverage for these items from your insurer.
- Personal belongings: If you have left any personal belongings in your vehicle, such as clothing, jewelry, books, or tools, they are usually not covered by car insurance. You may need to file a claim with your renters or homeowners insurance policy for these items. However, some insurers may offer a limited amount of coverage for personal belongings under comprehensive or third-party, fire and theft insurance. You should check with your insurer about the details and limits of this coverage.
How to File a Claim for Theft?
If your car is stolen or something is taken from your car, you should follow these steps to file a claim:
- Report the theft to the police: As soon as you notice that your car is missing or has been broken into, you should contact the police and file a report. You will need to provide information such as the make, model, color, license plate number, VIN number, and location of your vehicle. You will also need to list any items that were stolen from your vehicle and their approximate value. The police will give you a crime reference number that you will need for your insurance claim.
- Report the theft to your insurer: After you have received the crime reference number from the police, you should report the theft to your insurer as soon as possible. You will need to provide them with the same information as well as details about your policy number and coverage. Your insurer may ask you some questions about the circumstances of the theft and request proof of ownership for your vehicle and any items that were stolen. You may also need to pay a deductible, which is the amount of money you have to pay before your insurer pays the rest of the claim.
- Wait for the investigation and settlement: Your insurer will investigate your claim and check if it is valid and covered by your policy. They may also check with the police and other sources to verify the facts of the theft. Your insurer may wait to see if the vehicle is found before settling your claim. If they settle your claim and the vehicle is then found, they will keep the vehicle. If your car is not found, your insurer should pay you its market value, which is what you could have sold it for. If you are not satisfied with how much the insurer offers you, you can try to prove that the car is worth more by using car price guides or prices in local papers. Your insurer should settle your claim within three months unless there are unreasonably long delays or complications.
How to Prevent Car Theft?
Car theft can be a stressful and costly experience, but there are some ways to reduce the risk of it happening to you. Here are some tips to prevent car theft:
- Lock your doors and windows: Always lock your doors and windows when you leave your car, even if it is for a short time or in a safe area. Thieves can take advantage of any opportunity to break into your car and steal it or its contents.
- Park in a well-lit and secure area: Avoid parking in dark, isolated, or unfamiliar areas where thieves can operate without being seen or disturbed. Park in a well-lit and secure area where there is more traffic and surveillance. If possible, park in a garage or a lot that has an attendant or a security system.
- Use an anti-theft device: You can use an anti-theft device to deter thieves from stealing your car or make it harder for them to do so. Some examples of anti-theft devices are steering wheel locks, brake pedal locks, tire locks, alarm systems, immobilizers, tracking devices, and kill switches. You may also get a discount on your car insurance if you use an anti-theft device.
- Don’t leave valuables in plain sight: Don’t leave any valuables or personal items in plain sight inside your car, such as laptops, wallets, cell phones, purses, bags, or jewelry. Thieves may be tempted to smash your windows and grab them. If you have to leave anything in your car, hide it in the trunk or under the seat.
- Don’t leave your keys in the car: Don’t leave your keys in the car, even if it is locked or running. Thieves can easily break into your car and drive away with it. Don’t leave your keys in obvious places outside your car either, such as under the mat, in the wheel well, or on top of the tire. Thieves may look for these places and find them.
In Conclusion, Car insurance may cover theft of your vehicle if you have comprehensive or third-party, fire and theft insurance. However, it may not cover all the items that were stolen from your vehicle. You may need a renters or homeowners insurance policy or a special endorsement from your carrier to cover stolen personal items. If you are a victim of car theft, you should report it to the police and your insurer as soon as possible and follow their instructions to file a claim. You should also take some precautions to prevent car theft from happening to you.
Will Car Insurance Cover Stolen Items? – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)