Does Full Coverage Car Insurance Cover Theft?

August 24, 2019

You pay for car insurance to help you financially should you get in an accident, but what about theft? While we don’t want to think about someone stealing our precious vehicle, it happens every day. If you have full coverage car insurance, you should have adequate coverage for car theft, but knowing the details will help you understand more.

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What is Full Coverage?

In the insurance industry, there truly isn’t a ‘full coverage’ term. However, what most people refer to when thinking of full coverage is all three types of auto insurance:

  • Liability – Coverage for all other parties involved in the accident you caused, including any property damage that resulted.
  • Comprehensive – Coverage for damage your car experiences in any incident other than a car accident, which includes theft, and weather damage
  • Collision – Coverage for damage to your car if you are involved in an accident

Even within these types of courage, though, there are varying coverages and amounts. Knowing what you need to consider yourself ‘fully covered’ is important.

The Insurance you Need for Car Theft

Comprehensive auto insurance protects you financially if someone steals your car. This coverage provides coverage for a total loss (they don’t recover your car) as well as any damages that occur to the car if they do recover your car.

Keep in mind, though, comprehensive insurance is an add-on. You can ask an insurance agent for full coverage and it won’t include comprehensive insurance because the law doesn’t require it. Full coverage in the eyes of the law is liability insurance – this proves that you have the financial responsibility to be driving and putting other drivers/cars at risk of damage.

What Comprehensive Insurance Covers in a Car Theft

If you experience car theft, your insurance company will likely give you the actual cash value of your car as reimbursement (if they don’t recover your car). The actual cash value takes into consideration the cost to replace your exact car today minus any depreciation the car would normally have from normal use. Without the car, the claims adjustor will research the make and model of your vehicle, the Kelley Blue Book value, and any known history the insurance company has of the vehicle, such as if it’s been in an accident to come up with the value.

You may receive less than the actual cash value, though. You need to know your insurance deductible. Most policies have some type of deductible for comprehensive insurance. The insurance company will deduct the amount of your deductible for the payout for a stolen car.

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What Comprehensive Insurance Doesn’t Car in a Car Theft

Even though insurance companies try to be fair in the amount they reimburse you for a stolen vehicle, it’s not always as fair as they think. No matter how many upgrades, after-market accessories, or personal items you had in the car, such as car seats or stereo systems, the insurance company doesn’t figure them into your payout. You may be able to get reimbursement from your personal items through your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, though, so don’t write it off as a loss just yet.

The most important thing you can do if your car is stolen is called the police right away. You need the police report before you can file an insurance claim. Both the police and the insurance company will need as much information about the car, the situation, and what’s been done thus far in order to process the situation effectively.

If you are unsure if you have comprehensive insurance as a part of your ‘full coverage,’ contact your insurance agent. Without comprehensive coverage, vehicle theft isn’t something your insurance company would cover, leaving you financially responsible to replace the car if it doesn’t turn up during the search.

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