What Does Your Insurance Do When Your Car Is Stolen?

What Does Your Insurance Do When Your Car Is Stolen?

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What Does Your Insurance Do When Your Car Is Stolen?

Having a car stolen is an unfortunate experience for anyone, but it also raises plenty of questions for the vehicle owner who is now trying to figure out how to navigate their life without their transportation. Although there is the possibility that you will be able to locate your stolen vehicle or that the police can help, you still need to be prepared to ask questions such as, “What does my insurance do when my car is stolen?”

People are required to carry insurance on their vehicles that they drive on public roadways, which means that most people need to have appropriate insurance in place to meet not only state minimums but also to provide additional protections. These additional protections may be optional, such as underinsured or uninsured coverage, but they can be extremely beneficial when unfortunate accidents happen. 

You need to read the fine print of any car insurance policy to determine how your insurance carrier might address this particular situation. You also need to be prepared to advocate for yourself and to recognize when the case might have gotten so complicated that you need to retain the services of an experienced car insurance lawyer. A knowledgeable car insurance dispute lawyer can assist you with all aspects of your situation, and it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer sooner rather than later.

Reading the Fine Print of Your Policy

If your vehicle is stolen, one of the first things you should do is report it to the police. This gives you the best possible chance to recover your vehicle. It also serves as important planning for your car insurance claim because you will likely need to file a car insurance claim to recover the amount of your car.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance does not cover stolen cars. Liability insurance is only there to cover you in the event that you cause property damage or bodily injury to someone else or their vehicle, but it does not cover the instance of a stolen vehicle. Likewise, collision coverage doesn't protect you from theft either. The only way to get protection from theft is to have comprehensive car insurance coverage on your vehicle. You'll want to review your car insurance policy to see if you have such comprehensive coverage.

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  • What Should I Do When My Car Is Stolen?

    When you discover that you cannot find your car, and before reporting it stolen, there are a couple of important actions that you should take. The first is to make sure that your vehicle wasn't parked illegally and towed away or that it was not repossessed because you're behind on payments. Unfortunately, these possibilities can happen, and if it was claimed or impounded by a creditor, you do not want to file a police report, as it is technically not stolen. If you can confirm that none of these scenarios apply to your individual situation, you need to immediately file a police report.

    If you have a tracking device on your vehicle, this could help you recover it, but after contacting the police, you'll want to call your car insurance company next. You will need to let them know that the vehicle was stolen, and you may do some research by asking “What does insurance do when your car is stolen?” as soon as possible after you file this initial report. If your vehicle has been stolen and ultimately gets recovered, you will also want to inform your car insurance company as soon as possible. 

    In the event that the car has been damaged during the time that it was stolen, you may be able to use your comprehensive coverage to assist with paying for repairs minus your deductible and up to any limits. You may also be able to get a discount on your car insurance by having anti-theft devices installed. These tracking devices or passive alarms can help decrease the possibility of having the car stolen overall.

    Stolen Coverage Comprehensive Protection

    If someone steals your vehicle and it cannot be recovered by the police or through your own search, the insurance company will likely cut you a check for what is the current value of the car. This is only true when you have comprehensive coverage of the vehicle. Comprehensive coverage will, of course, also cover those damages made to the vehicle while it was stolen, but your comprehensive deductible does apply. 

    Many people assume that full coverage car insurance is needed in order to protect against the possibility of theft, but there is no actual full coverage insurance product. People may be referring to comprehensive coverage when they talk about it. 

    Comprehensive coverage is often available at an affordable rate and can give you a great deal of peace of mind, as it will also cover glass breakage and vandalism. Remember that your car insurance does not cover personal items stolen from your vehicles, such as a briefcase, laptop, or cellphone, but you might be able to turn to your homeowner's policy or your renter's policy, even if those items were stolen while the car was not located on your property. Make sure that you consider electronic device insurance as well to help protect your property in these specific situations. 

    One of the most common problems associated with insurance companies after your vehicle is stolen is getting the appropriate payment sent back to you. Comprehensive insurance does help cover theft of the vehicle itself, but you will likely need to use the bluebook value on the vehicle in order to claim that the insurance company is not properly reimbursing you for the amount that your vehicle was worth. 

    All of these are complex questions that should only be handled by an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer. If you find that your vehicle was stolen and you are arguing with the insurance company about the amount returned to you, or if you believe they have been involved in bad faith actions while dealing with you, such as refusing to payout your claim or delaying your claim unnecessarily, a lawyer can help you navigate the process of filing a legal claim directly against this insurance carrier. These issues are very complicated, and it is important for you to proceed carefully by reviewing all your options and having an experienced lawyer investigate the situation. A lawyer can tell you more about whether or not the insurance company has indeed violated your rights and about the legal recourse available to you in these cases.

  • Do I Really Need to Report My Car Stolen? 

    You might assume that there is little to no benefit to letting the police know that your vehicle has been stolen if you don't have any evidence. Especially if you live in a larger city and are concerned that you may not be able to locate the person who stole your vehicle, you might be tempted to simply report this to your vehicle insurance company. However, it is important to notify the police because it is always a possibility that they will be able to locate your stolen vehicle. 

    Furthermore, this illustrates to your car insurance company that you are taking this situation seriously and that your vehicle was indeed stolen. Make sure that you file a report as soon as possible after it has been stolen since the police have the best opportunity to recover stolen vehicles early on.

  • What if My Car Comes Back Damaged? 

    You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible if your vehicle is returned to you with damage. You will need to provide evidence of the damage that occurred to your vehicle when it was stolen in order to show that the insurance company owes you benefits. This can be an exceptionally frustrating situation, even though you were happy that your vehicle has been returned to you. The specifics of your car insurance policy will help you to determine whether or not you have grounds to file a legal claim and receive compensation for a damaged vehicle. 

    The person accused might face criminal charges, but this is separate from your process of recovering compensation or repairs through your own car insurance company. A criminal case can certainly help bolster your allegations of damage done to the car, however. 

  • What About My Rental Car Costs?

    Review the specifics of your car insurance policy to learn more about the situations in which your car insurance company may be responsible for providing you with a rental car. Not all car insurance policies automatically come with rental car provisions or payments as a result of a stolen vehicle.

    Contact the experts at Morgan & Morgan today if you need help dealing with your insurance company regarding a stolen vehicle. There’s no reason to handle this on your own; get the assurance and assistance you need to move forward with you life after this unfortunate event.

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