Car Theft

Are You Covered for Auto Theft?

If you carry comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, your policy provides coverage for theft and damages done to your vehicle should your car be recovered after being stolen. However, there are some important considerations, some of which can affect other coverages as well, like collision coverage.

Even with car alarms and other anti-theft measures, car theft continues to be a risk, costing billions of dollars per year throughout the US and Canada. Vehicle-related theft losses can come in two primary forms: break-ins and theft of the vehicle itself.

Break-ins often result in the following types of damage:

  • Broken door locks
  • Smashed windows
  • Broken ignition system

These damages are usually covered but are also 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.

Your auto insurance typically won’t cover the cost of anything stolen from your vehicle, however. Laptops, phones, cameras, and other valuables that may be stolen from your car can be covered with the personal property coverage offered by a home insurance policy or renter’s insurance policy.

Vehicle theft — assuming the vehicle is recovered — can also result in costly damage. The damage to your vehicle caused by car thieves is covered by your comprehensive coverage as well, although 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 value of the vehicle. If the vehicle is never recovered, it is, of course, a total loss and the insurer will cover the insured value of the vehicle, minus your deductible.

Another consideration is what you’ll drive while your vehicle is being repaired. If you’ve purchased rental car reimbursement coverage, your insurer can reimburse the cost of renting a vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired 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 as well as a total coverage limit per claim. Charges above these limits will have to be paid out of pocket. Fortunately, your agent or broker can often help you adjust these coverage limits to provide better protection — but the policy change has to take place before you have a claim.

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




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