Does car insurance protect against theft?

Does car insurance cover a stolen car? Learn what auto insurance does and doesn’t cover. (iStock)

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported 873,080 cars stolen nationwide in 2020, a 9.2% increase from 2019.

There are several steps you can take to prevent car theft and shield yourself financially in the aftermath of theft. One crucial way to protect yourself if your car gets stolen is to purchase the right car insurance policy.

With comprehensive insurance, you can rest assured knowing your vehicle will be repaired or replaced if an auto theft occurs.

Here’s a quick guide to car insurance and vehicle theft if your car has been stolen. And if you’re in the market for a more comprehensive car insurance policy, you can compare quotes for free on Credible’s marketplace.


Does car insurance cover theft?

There is only one type of auto insurance that will pay to replace your vehicle if it’s stolen or repair it after a break-in: comprehensive car insurance. Comprehensive coverage pays out when your car is damaged by something other than a collision with another vehicle, like a fallen limb, deer or car thief.

Most states require you to carry bodily injury and property damage coverage, with others requiring more forms of coverage. Comprehensive insurance covers theft, but is usually optional and can easily be added to your policy. 

Variables like your car’s make and model and your location and driving record affect your rates. The deductible, which is what you pay out of pocket before the policy kicks in, also impacts the cost.

This coverage makes sense if your car is 10-years-old or newer and in good condition. Otherwise, it may not always be worth the cost. Visit Credible to explore your options and determine if comprehensive car insurance is right for you.


What does insurance cover if your car is stolen?

If you have comprehensive insurance, you can count on the insurance company to repair or replace your car.

Here are a few of the specifics covered by a comprehensive policy:

  • Stolen vehicle replacement: If you report your stolen vehicle to the police and file a claim, you should receive the replacement value of the car, minus the deductible.
  • Car parts: if your car was robbed for parts, your comprehensive policy will pay up to the coverage limit to replace them, minus the deductible. This usually includes items like the catalytic converter and airbags.
  • Repair: If thieves damage your car while breaking in, you can expect your comprehensive policy to cover repairs.

On the other hand, a comprehensive policy will not cover the following: 

  • Custom parts: Parts that were added to your car aftermarket, like custom sound systems, are not usually covered.
  • Rental car: Rental or other reimbursements for transportation can be added to your car insurance policy, but it is not included under comprehensive insurance.
  • Personal property: Personal items lost or damaged in your vehicle are not covered by comprehensive coverage. Instead, you’ll need renters or homeowners insurance. Visit Credible’s marketplace to explore your home insurance options.


How to avoid car theft

Comprehensive coverage is a lifesaver if your car is broken into or stolen, but there are also strategies for avoiding car theft altogether.

Here are a few top pointers to follow:

  1. Lock up: Your car doors should always be locked, whether you’re driving or not. When you’re parked, don’t leave the car running or leave the keys inside.
  2. Hide your stuff: Don’t leave valuable items in a visible spot in your car as they could draw in car thieves.
  3. Keep your title elsewhere: Your car title should never be stored in your car, as a thief could use it to keep or sell your stolen car.
  4. Stay aware: Avoid dangerous areas when possible and be aware of your surroundings at all times, parking in well-lit areas and keeping your windows rolled up.
  5. Use an anti-theft device: Car alarms, devices that send data to the police, and steering wheel locking mechanisms can all help you protect your vehicle from thieves.

Sometimes having an anti-theft device installed can earn you a discount.

Wondering how much you could save? Head over to Credible who has partners to give you a free quote. It only takes two minutes.


Protect yourself from car theft

Car theft occurs all too often, but with the tips above, you can add some level of protection to your vehicle. While beefing up your car’s security features is an effective way to make it safer, comprehensive auto insurance provides the most foolproof protection.

For a reasonable rate, you should be able to add comprehensive coverage to your policy. If you’re interested in adding or changing your comprehensive coverage, you should consider more than one provider. You can compare quotes across multiple auto insurance companies on Credible.


Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at [email protected] and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.

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