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Published: January 10, 2022Last updated: October 18, 2022

Auto Theft Coverage: What to Do After Your Car Is Stolen

To get car theft covered, you’ll need comprehensive coverage.

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The movie “Dude, Where’s My Car?” might be a comedy, but auto theft is no joke. Surprisingly, the minimum auto insurance in each state doesn’t cover auto theft. Rather, auto theft is only covered if you have supplemental comprehensive coverage. In this article, we’ll help you find out if your car insurance covers theft, and what to do if your car is stolen.

Auto Theft Coverage

Auto Theft Coverage

Not all car insurance covers auto burglary/theft.

Does Car Insurance Cover Theft?

Does car insurance cover theft? Yes, if you have comprehensive coverage. However, the minimum coverage for every state in the U.S. doesn’t require this type of coverage, which also covers incidents like fires, floods, and falling rocks.

To get these events covered, you’ll need to sign up for comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage also includes:

  • Stolen cars. Your insurance provider will cover a stolen car.1
  • Stolen car parts. Your insurance provider will cover the costs if someone steals your vehicle parts, including tire and catalytic converter theft.
  • Damage from break-ins.

However, comprehensive coverage does not cover:

  • Personal property stolen. If you had a laptop or other personal items stolen from your car, comprehensive coverage won’t reimburse you. Rather, your homeowners or renters personal property coverage, if you have it, will reimburse you under “off-premises coverage,” up to a certain percentage.
  • Theft of vehicle upgrades. Comprehensive coverage only applies to permanent, pre-installed car parts. If you added on aftermarket products, custom parts, or modifications, comprehensive coverage won’t reimburse you for the costs.

Light BulbNOTE

To get vehicle upgrades covered, you’ll need custom parts and equipment coverage.

Insurance Reimbursement for Stolen Car Claims

To get reimbursed for a stolen car or car parts, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance provider. This is what happens once you file the claim, assuming you have comprehensive coverage:

  1. The insurance company will investigate the theft.
  2. Once the investigation is complete, if the claim is covered, you’ll be reimbursed for your losses up to the comprehensive limit in your auto insurance policy.
  3. If your claim isn’t covered, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for your lost vehicle or vehicle parts.

Light BulbFYI

Usually, auto theft claims take 14 to 30 days to be processed.

Does Car Insurance Cover Vandalism?

Like auto theft, car insurance only covers vandalism if you have comprehensive coverage. Learn more about vandalism coverage.

Gap Insurance and Auto Theft

If you have comprehensive coverage and your vehicle is stolen, then you’ll get reimbursed for the current cost of the vehicle, whether it’s a leased vehicle or a vehicle purchased with an auto loan. However, the value of a car depreciates as soon as you drive away from the dealership, so you may receive less than you paid for the car originally. That’s where gap insurance comes in.

Gap insurance will reimburse you for the difference between what you paid for your car originally and your insurance settlement. Your insurance settlement will pay your car’s actual cash value (ACV), meaning its current worth. Gap insurance ensures that you won’t lose money, even if your car is stolen.

What Is Actual Cash Value?

Let’s talk more about ACV, actual cash value. ACV is what your car is worth today, taking depreciation into account. In other words, if you sold your car today, the amount you’d get for it is your ACV.

Now, if you get your stolen car back and the damages are worth more than a certain percentage of the ACV, your insurance company will declare it a “total loss,” so you’ll be reimbursed for the entire ACV (minus your comprehensive insurance deductible). This threshold differs by state and insurer, so ask your insurance agent about the threshold for totaling a car.

How Much Is My Car Worth?

Many people wonder how insurance companies value cars and determine the ACV. How can you know that you’re getting reimbursed fairly for your ACV? Here’s how to determine your car’s worth:

  1. Consult the Kelley Blue Book.
  2. Consult the National Automobile Dealers Association’s NADAguides.

How to Prevent Car Theft

Even if you have comprehensive coverage, you’ll still have to pay a deductible before your insurance kicks in up to your coverage limit. To avoid paying a dollar above your premiums, your best bet is to prevent car theft in the first place. Here are our tips for preventing car theft:

  1. Always lock your car when you leave it, and make sure all the windows are up and locked.
  2. Park in areas with a lot of people around, with good lighting and visibility. Make sure things like dumpsters and trucks aren’t blocking the view of your car.
  3. If you are parked at home, park in a locked garage or in a driveway with a locked gate.
  4. Install motion-activated lights around your home.
  5. If you must park in public, avoid alleys, streets, and driveways, opting for private garages.
  6. If you see anyone loitering, avoid parking in that area.
  7. If you must park in public outside of a garage, leave as quickly as you can.2
  8. Use anti-theft devices such as these:
    • Steering wheel lock
    • Gearshift column lock
    • Vehicle recovery systems with GPS tracking3
    • Horn alarm
    • Computer chip in the ignition key that disables the flow of electricity and fuel to the engine 4

What to Do if Your Car Is Stolen

What to Do if Your Car Is Stolen

Even the most stringent licensed driver could still fall victim to auto theft. Take these steps if your car is stolen:

  1. Make sure that it was actually stolen and not towed, repossessed, impounded, or claimed.
  2. Once you confirm that you were a victim of vehicle theft, call the police and file a police report.
  3. If your car has a tracking device, try to recover it yourself.
  4. Contact your insurance provider and file a claim, if you have comprehensive coverage. If not, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for a new car. Here is the claims contact information for each auto insurance provider:
Insurance provider Email address Phone number Postal address Where to submit claims online
21st Century claimsdocuments@farmersinsurance.com 888-244-6163 P.O. Box 268994 Oklahoma City, OK 73126-8994

 

Medical/PIP documents involving FL, NJ, NY: P.O. Box 268995

 

Medical/PIP documents involving all other states: P.O. Box 268993

www.21st.com/contact-21st-century-insurance.htm
AAA None Enter ZIP code to find claims number: www.aaa.com/stop/ The Auto Club Group Claim Department P.O. Box 9001 Royal Oak, MI 48068-9826 www.aaa.com/stop/
AARP None 800-243-6860 The Hartford P.O. Box 14219 Lexington, KY 40512 https://www.thehartford.com/aarp/car-insurance/how-to-file-claim
Allstate None 800-255-7828 Allstate Insurance Company P.O. Box 660636 Dallas, TX 75266 www.allstate.com/auto-insurance/auto-claims-info.aspx
Amica None 800-242-6422 Amica Scan Center P.O. Box 9690 Providence, RI 02940-9690 www.amica.com/en/customer-service/contact-us.html
Autopom info@autopom.com 800-654-8455 Autopom Office 22651 Lambert St., Suite 102 Lake Forest, CA 92630 www.extended-vehicle-warranty.com/mercury-insurance-claim/
Bristol West None 800-274-7865 Bristol West Claims Service P.O. Box 258806 Oklahoma City, OK 73125-8806 www.bristolwest.com/home/claims
Carchex None 877-227-2439 Carchex 118 Shawan Road, Suite 210 Baltimore, MD 21030 www.carchex.com/auto-warranty/how-to-file-a-claim/
Carshield ClaimsDocs@americanautoshield.com 800-531-1925 1597 Cole Blvd., Suite 200 Lakewood, CO 80401-3418 americanautoshield.com/report-a-claim/
Clearcover None 855-444-1875 None clearcover.com/claims/
Concord None Maine: 800-482-7443

Massachusetts: 800-422-5246

 

New Hampshire: 800-888-6050 Vermont: 800-660-3838

Concord Corporate Office 4 Bouton St. Concord, NH 03301 www.concordgroupinsurance.com/claims/report-a-claim
Dairyland None 800-334-0090 None www.dairylandinsurance.com/auto/claims
Direct None 800-403-1077 Direct Auto Insurance Claims Department P.O. Box 1623 Winston Salem, NC 27102 www.directauto.com/claims/make-a-claim
Endurance None 877-414-0134 Endurance Corporate Headquarters 400 Skokie Blvd., Suite 105 Northbrook, IL 60062 www.endurancewarranty.com/learning-center/company-resources/best-practices-for-filing-a-claim-with-endurance-warranty/
Erie None 800-367-3743 Erie Branch Claims Office P.O. Box 13002 Erie, PA 16514-3002 www.erieinsurance.com/support-center/claims/auto
Esurance None 800-378-7262 Esurance Customer Service P.O. Box 5250 Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5258 www.esurance.com/file-a-claim-online
Farmers None 800-435-7764 Farmers Customer Service 6301 Owensmouth Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91367 www.farmers.com/cmp/s/filealoss?SO=01
Foremost None 800-274-7865 None claims.bristolwest.com/cmp/s/filealoss?SO=04
GAINSCO None 866-424-6726 GAINSCO Inc. P.O. Box 199023 Dallas, Texas 75219-9023 www.gainsco.com/customers/report-a-claim/
GEICO None 800-841-3000 None www.geico.com/claims/
GMAC Claims@NGIC.com 800-468-3466 None claims.nationalgeneral.com/report
Good2Go Claims@good2go.com 800-727-6664 Good2Go Auto Insurance P.O. Box 1930 Blue Bell, PA 19422-0479 mypolicy.good2go.com/account/login#</td>
Infinity customer.service@ipacc.com 800-334-1661 Infinity Insurance 200 E. Randolph St., Suite 3300 Chicago, IL 60601 www.kemper.com/claims/report-a-claim
Kemper None 888-253-7834

 

For California customers:

800-508-5833 (formerly Alliance United)

 

800-234-3606 (formerly Kemper Specialty California)

Kemper Claims P.O. Box 2855 Clinton, IA 52733 www.kemper.com/claims/report-a-claim/report-a-claim-auto
Lemonade carclaims@lemonade.com 844-733-8666 (for claim emergencies) None www.lemonade.com/car
Liberty Mutual None 800-225-2467 Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston 100 Liberty Way Dover, NH 03820 fileaclaim.libertymutual.com/
Mercury None 800-503-3724 Mercury Insurance 1700 Greenbriar Lane Brea, CA 02921 www.mercuryinsurance.com/claims/auto-claim.html
MetLife — Farmers Auto Insurance None 800-435-7764 Farmers Insurance Customer Service 6301 Owensmouth Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91367 www.farmers.com/cmp/s/filealoss?SO=01
Metromile None 888-595-5485 None claims.metromile.com/
Nationwide None 800-421-3535 None claimsselfservice.nationwide.com/claims/index.html#/file-claim
Omega contactus@omegaautocare.com 877-850-0443 None www.omegaautocare.com/claims/
Plymouth Rock None 844-346-1225 Plymouth Rock Assurance P.O. Box 55165 Boston, MA 02205 efnol.plymouthrock.com/#/login
Progressive None 800-776-4737 None www.progressive.com/claims/auto-process/
Protect My Car None 844-256-4762 None blog.protectmycar.com/claim-protect-my-car
Root None New claims: 866-980-9431

Existing claims: 866-489-1985

Root Insurance Claims Department 80 E. Rich St., Suite 500 Columbus, OH 43215 www.joinroot.com/claims/
Safeco None 800-332-3226 None fileaclaim.safeco.com/
State Farm None 800-732-5246 None www.statefarm.com/claims/file-a-claim
The General None 800-280-1466 None www.thegeneral.com/car-insurance/basics/claims/</td>
Toco info@tocowarranty.com 855-298-8626 Toco Warranty 8501 Fallbrook Ave., Suite 225 West Hills, CA 91304 www.tocowarranty.com/file-a-claim
Travelers None 800-252-4633 None www.travelers.com/claims/report-claim
USAA None Shortcut mobile number: #8722/210-531-8722 or/800-531-8722 USAA 9800 Fredericksburg Road San Antonio, TX 78288 www.usaa.com/inet/wc/auto-insurance-claims
  1. Wait for the reimbursement check to come in, which could take anywhere from 14 to 30 days.

What to Do if Your Car Is Recovered

Congratulations, your car is yours again! Here’s what to do if you find your stolen car:

  1. Tell your insurance agent immediately.
  2. If it has any damages, file claims for them so your provider can cover the repair costs. 5

Anti-Theft Discounts

 

Anti-Theft Discounts

Many auto insurance providers offer auto insurance discounts for anti-theft devices. To lower the cost of your car insurance with anti-theft devices, look at the following providers:

Recap

No one ever wants to deal with auto theft and burglary, but if you have comprehensive coverage, you won’t have to pay out of pocket for repairs or replacements, excluding your deductible. That’s why it’s best to get more than the minimum coverage your state requires, because, shockingly, no state thinks comprehensive coverage is essential.

FAQ

Learn even more about auto theft coverage below; we’ve answered the questions you asked the most often.

What auto coverage covers theft?

Comprehensive auto insurance coverage covers theft. Theft is not covered by property damage coverage, collision coverage, or bodily injury coverage.

  • Bodily injury liability
  • Property damage liability
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Medical payments coverage / personal injury protection
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

What does auto theft insurance include?

What auto theft insurance includes depends on your state’s minimum coverage requirements and the supplemental coverage you’ve added on, but in general, full-coverage auto insurance includes these coverages:

Does full-coverage auto insurance include theft?

Yes, full-coverage auto insurance includes theft under comprehensive coverage. However, it only includes theft of the original car or car parts, not any add-ons, modifications, customizations, or personal belongings stolen from your car.

Does GEICO cover items stolen from cars?

GEICO only covers items stolen from cars as part of its homeowners/renters insurance policies under its personal property and off-premises coverages.

Citations

  1. Does car insurance cover theft and vandalism?. Nationwide. (2022).
    https://www.nationwide.com/lc/resources/auto-insurance/articles/does-car-insurance-cover-theft

  2. VEHICLE SECURITY AND RELATED TIPS. sandiego.gov. (2017, Sept 29).
    https://www.sandiego.gov/sites/default/files/vehiclesecurity_1.pdf

  3. Does Car Insurance Cover Theft? Allstate. (2019, Nov).
    https://www.allstate.com/tr/car-insurance/protect-against-vehicle-theft.aspx

  4. Vehicle Theft Prevention. United States Department of Transportation.
    https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/vehicle-theft-prevention

  5. Does car insurance cover theft?. Progressive. (2021).
    https://www.progressive.com/answers/does-car-insurance-cover-theft/