Car thefts have decreased continuously over the years, but the fact that the FBI still reports that a car is stolen every 45 seconds isn’t exactly reassuring. If you’ve been a victim of vehicle theft, here’s what you need to know about car insurance.
Many drivers automatically assume that vehicle theft is covered under their car insurance policy. While this may be the case, it isn’t always true. Car theft isn’t covered under minimum liability coverage but rather through comprehensive coverage.
If you had a laptop, wallet, cell phone, camera equipment, musical instrument – anything of value left in your car, don’t expect it to be covered. Such valuables may be covered under your home or renter’s policy and in certain states those belongings may be covered under your auto insurance policy.
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What Should I Do if My Car Is Stolen?
- Call the police
As soon as you discover that your vehicle has been stolen, call 911. File a police report as soon as possible and be sure to include as many details about the location, time of day, and circumstances as you can.
- Speak with your insurer and report a claim
After contacting the police, your next step should be to contact your insurance company. You typically can’t file a claim without first having a copy of the police report.
- Have information ready
Certificate of title, location of all keys, car description, service records, approximate mileage, recent maintenance, financing information, leasing company, and a personal property list – is all information that your insurer may ask you for.
- Call loan provider
If you’re financing your car through loans, it is best practice to call your lien holder as soon as possible to alert them of your vehicle’s theft, especially if you owe money.
Take Preventive Measures:
- Park in a safe, well-lit area
- See something, say something
Speak up about any suspicious activity
- Always lock your doors
This is the easiest and cheapest car theft defense. Many cars are broken into because the vehicles were left open or unlocked. Regardless of how safe an area you believe you’re in, get into the habit of locking and checking your car doors.
- Don’t leave your car idling
Don’t leave your car running in a parking lot or your driveway on a cold winter morning. As appealing as it sounds, it’s a standout signal to car thieves.
- Keep valuables with you, or out of sight
Always keep possessions of value with you, not in your car. If you must keep something of worth, such as a GPS or a shopping package, lock it in your trunk or hide it out of plain sight.
- Upgrade your safety features
If you’re concerned about your vehicle or know that you live in a high-theft area, consider updating your car with some safety features. Install an anti-theft device, alarm, tracking, or a camera device to help protect your car. Know your VIN and keep your car as safe as possible.
Read the Details:
Before you purchase an auto insurance policy with comprehensive coverage and drive around confident that you are insured against car theft, it is wise to read the fine print.
Some car insurers include specific language details that exempt them from providing coverage if the theft was due to fault. For example, if you left your car idling with the doors unlocked in the middle of a parking lot, your carrier may not be required to insure you for the resulting damages. The best way to prevent this is to read up on the details of your comprehensive coverage policy and be a smart driver. If you operate and protect your car with common sense, you will likely be insured for all related circumstances.
In short, the answer is yes. Your vehicle is insured from theft if you have comprehensive coverage. Just remember that your personal belongings aren’t. For compensation for such losses, you will have to contact your home or rental insurer.
Unfortunately, car thefts are still common in today’s world. Do what you can to guard your car and deter thieves so that you won’t ever have to deal with the panicky feelings, insurance claims, and police reports that are the unwanted aftermath of a stolen vehicle.