Does Your Auto Insurance Protect Against Car Theft?
Jessica Fox Last Updated On: July 12, 2022

Does Car Insurance Cover Theft? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Does Car Insurance Cover Theft

The point of any insurance product is to offer you protection. Nobody wants to find out their car has been broken into or worse, stolen. So if you want the peace of mind that your vehicle is protected, check your policy to see if you’re covered against theft. If not, read on to help you figure out which policy you need to give yourself some peace of mind. 

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Which Car Insurance Policy Has Theft?

You should consider comprehensive coverage if you’re in the market for auto insurance and want to guarantee that you have auto theft coverage. Comprehensive coverage will protect you from theft-related incidents, such as:

  • Key fob damage or replacement (if stolen)
  • Break-in damages
  • Catalytic converter replacement
  • Stolen vehicle replacement
  • Vehicle damage incurred while stolen
  • Vandalism repair costs

Unfortunately, you will not have theft coverage if you have any of these insurance policies: 

If you’re not sure which policy type you have, give your provider a call to find out.  

Does Car Insurance Cover Theft If the Keys Were Left In the Car?

It happens. Sometimes homeowners accidentally leave their keys in the car. If you have comprehensive coverage, then whether you leave the keys in the car with the door open and idling, or the keys are in the ignition — you’re still 100% covered.

The only caveat is if your insurance discovers that you intentionally left keys in the car so it would get stolen to get the payout. This is considered insurance fraud and a serious offence.

Does Car Insurance Cover a Stolen Car?

Yes, if you have comprehensive coverage and your vehicle is stolen, then your policy will pay the current cash value of your car if it’s not recovered. However, you’ll have to pay the policy deductible first if this happens. 

Additionally, if you’re insuring an older vehicle, you may want to weigh whether it’s worth having comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive is better for policyholders with newer or leased vehicles.

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What to Do When Your Vehicle Is Stolen

If you’re leaving work or going to use your vehicle when you suddenly realize it isn’t where it’s supposed to be (and your spouse, friend, or family member doesn’t have it), what should you do? 

  • File a police report: Step one, as stressful and inconvenient as this situation is for you, don’t panic and call the police as soon as possible (typically report a stolen vehicle within 24 hours of it happening). The sooner you file, the better your chances of the police locating your car. These are some questions the cops will likely ask:
    • Your VIN and license plate number
    • Car details (year, make, model)
    • Where and when your car was last seen 
    • Personal property within the car
    • If your car has a location or tracking device
    • If there are any identifiable marks (dents, scratches, stickers or wraps) on the car
  • File an insurance claim: As soon as you finish with the police report, contact your insurance company to begin filing a claim. Your provider will need information on your car to assess the actual cash value for your payout. Here are some standard questions you may need to answer:
    • Car title
    • Policy account number
    • Where your vehicles keys where before/after theft
    • Who had access to your vehicle
    • Vehicle description (mileage, service records, upgrades)
    • Auto lender contact information
  • Contact your vehicle lender: If you’re leasing a car, you will need to contact the lender to notify them of the theft.

Note: Unfortunately, stolen vehicle fraud happens, meaning the police and your provider must rule out that you did not commit the offence first. It’s common for insurers to run a credit check to see if you have a large debt. 

Stolen Car Payouts and Disputes

If the police cannot recover your stolen vehicle, your insurance will likely offer you a payout. Remember, your payout is only possible if you have comprehensive auto insurance. The payout is your vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) minus the deductible. Deductibles range from $500-$2,000.

If you are not satisfied with the payout amount, you can dispute the payout via:

  • Research: Using reputable sites like Edmunds, Kelley Bluebook, or NADA (National Automobile Dealer Association) to look up comparables.
  • Upgrades proof: If you have receipts and photos that suggest you have upgraded your vehicle, you can present this to insurance to increase the value of your payout.

The payout is designed to help you replace the car with another equivalent value. 

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What Happens If Your Stolen Vehicle Is Recovered?

If the police locate your vehicle and it is missing parts or damaged, comprehensive insurance will cover the repair cost if possible (unless repair exceeds the ACV). Otherwise, if the vehicle is too damaged or costly to repair, you will receive the actual cash value for your car.

Although, if your car is found after the payout and you’ve purchased a new vehicle, your provider will keep the car. However, you may need to return your payout if you have yet to get another vehicle with your payout. Please note that every insurer and case is handled differently in these situations. 

Vandalism and Personal Property Theft

Does car insurance cover vandalism? Yes, if your car keys are stolen or the vehicle is keyed, dented, dinged, or the windows are broken, your comprehensive coverage will cover the repair costs — minus the deductible. 

Does car insurance cover theft of personal property in the vehicle? Unfortunately, the answer is no; comprehensive car insurance does not cover the replacement cost of stolen personal property like sunglasses, electronics, and jewellery. To receive compensation for personal effects, you need to use homeowners or renters insurance. 

What You Can Do to Prevent Car Theft

There are certain ways to deter thieves from taking your car, such as having:

  • Anti-theft system (you’ll also get a discount on your insurance)
  • Never leave your keys in the car
  • Never leave your car idling, if you’re not in it
  • Lock your car
  • Remove all valuable personal items (especially from sight)
  • Park your car in a visible, well-lit area
  • Park your car facing the garage as it’s harder to steal
  • If you have to park on the street, turn your wheels to the curb
  • Chemically etch your VIN on the windows

Protecting your vehicle from being stolen in the first place will help you avoid the hassle and financial implications of submitting a claim. 

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So, Is Car Theft Covered By Insurance?

If you’re concerned about having your car stolen or vandalized, you should strongly consider comprehensive car insurance, not to mention all the other perks of having full coverage! Comprehensive auto insurance is the only insurance product that covers car insurance theft. 

Above all else, if you want peace of mind that your car is safe on and off the road, it may be in your best interest to explore comprehensive auto insurance policies.

Jessica FoxJessica Fox has been a freelance writer for five years, with a specialty in health, wellness, and insurance. During this time, she’s written for some of the biggest B2B and B2C brands from around the world. Jessica is also the mother of two young daughters and loves coffee, writing, and working out.