There are few feelings that are stranger than when it begins to dawn on you that your car has been stolen. The response usually involves disbelief, confusion and even anger. Depending on what you are doing when you discover the theft, panic can also be a reaction. Eventually, you will begin to wonder whether your car is covered for theft.
Car theft is not covered by a collision policy.
The thief may wreck your car before it is found, but the theft itself is not included in a collision policy. Collision insurance is just what it sounds like. It is insurance that pays if your car is damaged in an accident. Theft is not considered an accident. In fact, your car may be found undamaged a few hundred miles away. If this happens, you are lucky, because you do not have to worry about insurance. Just go pick up the car and bring it home.
Liability does not cover a stolen vehicle.
Liability insurance is designed to cover your financial obligation to fix the other person’s car or property and help with medical expenses. Since your car is stolen, if it causes damage to property or people, you are generally not going to be responsible. If the car is not found, the liability portion of the policy will not come into play.
Theft is usually covered under the comprehensive part of your car insurance.
Comprehensive insurance is a broad policy that covers a number of important car insurance needs. With comprehensive insurance, for example, glass breakage caused by rocks along the highway is covered. If storms damage your car, it is your comprehensive insurance that pays the bill. Along with these coverages is car theft. The comprehensive policy will pay for your stolen car if it is not recovered.
Many car insurance companies will not allow you to buy comprehensive insurance without buying collision insurance first.
Comprehensive insurance is considered a part of a “full coverage” package. The car will be insured for collisions, liability and comprehensive. Unless you buy full coverage insurance, comprehensive is usually not offered. Comprehensive can have a deductible that is different from the collision portion of the policy. Some people like to carry a $500 or $1,000 collision deductible. However, comprehensive deductibles are often less than $500, and sometimes there is no deductible at all.
Some theft policies have provisions that must be met before the insurance will cover the theft.
Usually, you have to be able to convince the insurance company that your car was really stolen. For most people, this is not a tough assignment. As long as the insurance company does not see any signs of fraud, they will usually accept your testimony that your car was stolen. If the car is recovered, it should not appear that you actually loaned the car to someone who failed to return it to your driveway. If your keys are in the ignition switch or the car was obviously left in a strange place unlocked, the insurance company may not cover the theft.