thief picking car door

Are You Covered for Auto Theft?

Even with car alarms and other anti-theft measures, auto theft continues to be a risk, costing billions of dollars annually throughout the US and Canada. Vehicle-related theft losses can come in two primary forms: break-ins and theft of the vehicle itself. If you carry comprehensive coverage for your car, your policy provides coverage for theft and damage to your vehicle should you recover your car after being stolen. However, there are some important considerations, some of which can affect other coverages, like collision coverage.

Break-ins often result in the following types of damage:
  • Broken door locks
  • Smashed windows
  • Broken ignition system

These damages are usually covered but subject to the deductible you choose for your comprehensive coverage. For example, if you have a $500 deductible for comprehensive coverage and a vehicle break-in results in $2,000 in damage to your vehicle, your insurer may pay $1,500 toward the repair costs.

However, your auto insurance won’t cover the cost of anything stolen from your vehicle.

You can cover laptops, phones, cameras, and other valuables that a thief may steal from your car with the personal property coverage offered by home insurance or renter’s insurance policy.

Assuming you recover the vehicle, vehicle theft can also result in costly damage. Your comprehensive coverage also covers the damage to your vehicle caused by car thieves. However, it isn’t uncommon for recovered vehicles to be a total loss, which means the cost of repairing the damage is close to or higher than the vehicle’s value. If you do not recover the car, it is a total loss, and the insurer will cover the insured value of the vehicle minus your deductible.

Another consideration is what you’ll drive in the meantime while you repair your vehicle.

If you’ve purchased rental car reimbursement coverage, your insurer can reimburse the cost of renting a vehicle while yours undergo repairs if the damage is caused by a covered loss, like a break-in. Beware of coverage limits for rental reimbursement, however. Often there is a daily coverage limit and a total coverage limit per claim. Charges above these limits you will have to pay out of pocket. Fortunately, your agent or broker can often help you adjust these coverage limits to provide better protection — but the policy change must occur before you have a claim.

Attempted theft of a vehicle break-in can press several different types of coverage into action. This is why regularly reviewing your coverage with your agent or broker is essential. Often, the insurance policies we own are interrelated. A single loss can trigger different coverages on your policy or even bring a separate policy into play, like a home or business policy. A policy review once every 12 to 18 months can help catch potential coverage gaps and give you a chance to adjust your coverage and deductibles. If you haven’t reviewed your coverage lately, reach out today!