Car Insurance for a Stolen Car

If your car has been stolen, you will need to act immediately to report the incident to the police and contact your insurance company to begin the process of filing a claim.  Receiving car insurance for a stolen car requires significant time, attention, paperwork, and interaction with your insurance carrier.  As you work through the process of recovering insurance money for your stolen car, be prepared to work with an adjuster to get the fair value of your stolen vehicle. 

TIP:  Before contacting the insurance company, make sure there are no alternative explanations to the absence of your vehicle – such as having the car towed or repossessed. 

Does Car Insurance Cover a Stolen Car?

Stolen cars are covered by the comprehensive coverage section of your car insurance policy, and when you call your agent you should confirm that you have comprehensive coverage and that it is adequate to cover the loss of your car. 

If you do not have comprehensive coverage, or your coverage limits are low, than your car insurance may not cover a stolen car.   Your auto insurance policy is the only source of coverage for your vehicle – a home insurance plan will not cover the theft of a vehicle even if the car is stolen from a driveway or garage.

Car Insurance for a Stolen Car

When you file a car insurance claim for a stolen car, prepare for a long and detailed process required by your carrier.  Keep a few things in mind so you know what to expect:

  • Insurance companies will typically require a minimum waiting period before stolen car claims can be finalized in order to see if the vehicle is recovered.  Usually this period is thirty days starting from the day the vehicle was stolen.  Ask your carrier what time frame is required before finalizing your stolen car claim, and be sure to pursue the matter as soon as the company allows.
  • Stolen car insurance claims are investigated thoroughly by adjusters.  Conversations are likely to be recorded as part of standard procedure, and the adjuster will ask for very specific details about the vehicle and the theft.  Be prepared with details about your car and the circumstances of its theft.
  • Until the matter is settled with your insurance carrier, you should contact your lender to see if you still need to make car payments during the claim investigation. 
  • After the insurance company finalizes your claim, you will need to sign over the title and ownership of the vehicle to the insurer.  If the car is found after you collect a claim, it belongs to the insurance company.
  • If the vehicle is recovered before the claim is finalized, your comprehensive coverage will pay for any damages that the car incurred during the theft.

As you work with your insurance adjuster on your stolen car insurance claim, keep in mind that you do can consult an attorney if you feel that your claim is not being treated fairly. 

Car Insurance Payout for a Stolen Car

When an insurance company pays a stolen car claim, it will pay the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle at the time of the theft.  Actual cash value is determined by the cost of the vehicle minus diminished value due to accidents, depreciation, age, and wear and tear.  As you work with your insurance company, make sure you prepare yourself by researching the car’s value at an online site such as Kelly Blue Book.  Doing so will give you an accurate value that you can compare to the insurance company’s payment offer.  Although personal items left in the car are not covered, you should take permanent enhancements such as CD player or stereo into account when valuing the vehicle.

TIP:  If the car insurance company makes you an offer that does not match the value of your car, you can attempt to negotiate a better settlement by explaining how you valued the vehicle.  Consult a car insurance attorney for assistance.