Does Car Insurance Cover Stolen Cars?

An auto insurance policy can cover a stolen car if it includes comprehensive insurance coverage. Comprehensive coverage pays for your car if it gets damaged or lost in a non-accident incident, such as animal damage, fires, weather-related incidents and theft.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 1/2/2023
Written By     |  

A stolen car will be covered under comprehensive insurance, along with other non-accident events, such as glass breakage, fires, hail and animal-related incidents. If your car is not recovered, your insurance will pay out the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle.

Unlike liability insurance, comprehensive insurance is not a federal or state requirement; it is additional coverage you need to purchase. Explore what happens when your car gets stolen and when your insurance will cover it.

Table of Contents
Key Takeaways

money icon

Comprehensive insurance can pay the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle if it gets stolen and cannot be recovered.

carInsurance icon

Personal items inside your car are not covered by your auto insurance policy. These may be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance instead.

car2Colored icon

Having anti-theft devices, locking your car door and parking in well-lit areas are some ways to prevent vehicle theft.

Does Car Insurance Cover Car Theft?

If your car is stolen, insurance can replace it, but only if you carry comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive insurance may pay for non-accident damage to your car which may be caused by animals, weather, vandalism or theft.

It’s worth noting that comprehensive coverage will not cover the theft of any personal property within the vehicle. Instead, your personal property may be covered by your home or renters insurance.

No state requires comprehensive car insurance. However, if your policy only includes state minimum coverage or you only have collision insurance as an add-on, keep in mind that your insurance coverage is limited. Thus, you cannot claim an insurance when your car is stolen.

How Much Is Comprehensive Insurance?

On its own, comprehensive insurance is an affordable add-on to your auto insurance policy. On average, it will only cost an additional $34 per month.

However, it is worth noting that aside from paying extra each month, comprehensive insurance also requires a deductible, which means you will have to pay part of the cost out of pocket when you file a claim.

Compare how much auto insurance costs with only comprehensive coverage versus a full coverage policy with increased limits below:

Scroll for more

Horizontal swipe icon
  • Comprehensive Only
    50/100/50 Liability Only
    50/100/50 w/ Comprehensive and Collision
  • Monthly
    $34
    $75
    $109
  • 6 Months
    $207
    $449
    $656
  • Annual
    $413
    $898
    $1,311

What Else Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover?

Aside from theft, comprehensive coverage can also help pay for damage caused by incidents other than collisions.

For instance, comprehensive coverage can pay for damages caused by:

  • vandalism
  • natural disasters
  • fires
  • animal damage
  • slight negligence
  • civil disturbances

Negligence can include situations such as backing out of your driveway carelessly without checking for other vehicles. On the other hand, your provider might reject a theft claim if you left your keys inside your car since this indicates a more serious negligence.

Does Auto Insurance Cover Personal Items Inside a Stolen Car?

No, if your car gets stolen, your auto insurance policy will not cover any valuables inside.

If, for instance, you have a laptop stored in your car or something else that’s valuable, you cannot expect your car insurance to pay for the replacement. Instead, personal property within your vehicle may be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance, up to the limit indicated on your policy.

mglogo icon
MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

Comprehensive insurance is not a requirement in any state, but it is the best way to financially protect yourself in the event of car theft.

Your car insurance policy does not cover any personal items inside your car. Home personal property coverage can pay for lost or damaged valuables, which is included in home insurance or renters insurance policies.

What to Do if Your Car Gets Stolen

Realizing your car has been stolen can cause feelings of panic or disbelief. But knowing what to do can help you focus on getting it back or resolving the issue.

The first thing you should do is report your car missing to the police, then call your insurance provider to report the theft. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to report a car theft to the police and your insurer.

1

Consider other situations

Before calling the police, rule out all other possible causes for a missing vehicle. It’s possible that your car got towed, repossessed or impounded.

2

Contact the police

If you are sure that your car was parked legally and has been stolen, it’s time to call the police. Make sure to have your vehicle’s information handy, such as its VIN and license plate number, its year, make and model.

It is also important to remember the place and time you suspect it was stolen and any additional information that could make it easier to spot.

3

Call your insurance provider

Inform your insurer after filing a police report and file a claim.

If you have other insurance, like homeowners or renters, let your provider know about the theft so they can cover stolen items inside your car.

4

Prepare for the outcome

After filing the report and a claim, it’s a matter of awaiting the outcome. If your car is stolen and doesn’t get recovered, your insurance should pay for its actual cash value (ACV). If it gets recovered, your insurance can pay for any damages that occur to it.

What Do You Need to File a Claim?

To file a claim for theft, you will need to provide your insurance provider with a few details. Make sure to have these on hand before contacting your insurer:

  • carInsurance icon

    Your auto insurance policy number

  • find icon

    The police report number for your incident

  • signupBonus icon

    Your certificate of title to the vehicle

  • pickupTruck icon

    The details of your car and any upgrades made to it

  • buyingACar icon

    The description of your car and a recent photo

How Much Will Comprehensive Pay Out?

Because stolen cars are considered totaled, insurers pay the car’s actual cash value (ACV) minus any deductibles. Keep in mind that the ACV of your vehicle is how much it’s worth at the time of the theft, which includes the depreciation of your vehicle. If you are not satisfied with your payout, you may be able to negotiate with your insurer.

bookshelves icon
MONEYGEEK DICTIONARY

Actual cash value for auto insurers is the market price of an insured vehicle and the amount they will pay if the car is totaled.

Insurance companies calculate the value of a totaled car differently. That said, insurers typically use the amount the car owner paid to purchase the vehicle minus depreciation. That means the ACV of your car is less than the amount you spent when you bought it.

Will Rates Go Up if You File a Claim for a Stolen Car?

Your premium may increase once you file a claim. However, it will all depend on your provider and the circumstances surrounding the car theft.

For instance, leaving your keys in the car may count as negligence and the insurer will deem you responsible for the theft. In that case, the insurance company may even deny your claim, or your rates may go up.

What to Do to Prevent Car Theft

There are many simple ways to prevent your car from getting stolen. These include locking your car doors and parking in well-lit areas. Taking preventive measures to keep your car safe can help you avoid the hassle of needing to call the police and file a claim.

  • Lock Car Doors

    Forgetting to lock your doors can be an easy mistake but potentially costly. Make it a habit to lock your doors every time you exit the vehicle to decrease the chances of theft.

  • ignition icon

    Remove Keys From the Vehicle

    Keeping your car keys in the vehicle can tempt thieves to steal your car. Take your keys with you and keep them on your person or in a safe spot in your house.

  • car icon

    Close Your Windows

    Open windows can invite thieves to steal your car or its valuables. Make sure all your windows are closed when parking or leaving a vehicle.

  • car2 icon

    Park in Well-Lit Areas

    Thieves are more likely to target your car if it’s unseen by the general public. To mitigate this risk, park in well-lit areas.

  • Ensure Your Car Has an Audible Alarm System

    An audible alarm system is typically installed in most modern cars, but if you have an older car, you may have to get a third-party one. An audible alarm system can emit a loud noise that can chase off a potential thief.

Can You Get Insurance Discounts for Anti-Theft Devices?

Some insurance providers will offer a discount if you have an anti-theft device installed in your vehicle. This can help make insurance more affordable and ensure you have enough coverage.

Companies That Offer Anti-Theft Discounts
  • Company
    Description
  • AAA
    If your car has anti-theft technology, AAA will offer you a discount.
  • Alfa
    Having a vehicle with an anti-theft system can get you a discount of up to 10% on your comprehensive insurance.
  • Allstate
    Allstate offers a discount if you have an anti-theft device in your car.
  • Amica
    Installing car safety systems like car alarms or GPS tracking devices can earn you savings on your premiums at Amica Mutual.
  • Arbella
    Depending on the anti-theft systems you have, Arabella can offer you a discount of up to 36% on your comprehensive insurance.
  • Country Financial
    If you have any alarm or anti-theft device, Country Financial will discount your comprehensive insurance.
  • Erie
    Having safety features such as factory-installed airbags, anti-theft devices and anti-lock brakes can score you a discount at Erie.
  • Farmers
    If you have an alarm or protective device, Farmers will grant you a discount on your premiums.
  • GEICO
    GEICO offers discounts to drivers with anti-theft systems installed in their cars.
  • Liberty Mutual
    Liberty Mutual offers discounts to drivers who have anti-theft tech installed.
  • Mercury
    Having anti-theft devices can earn Mercury policyholders a discount, as it can reduce and resolve theft claims.
  • National General
    If you have built-in anti-theft devices or have a third-party device installed, National General can offer you a discount.
  • Nationwide
    Certain anti-theft devices can earn you a discount at Nationwide.
  • State Farm
    Having an approved anti-theft device or alarm can help you save on State Farm premiums.
  • 21st Century
    If your vehicle has up-to-date anti-theft systems, you can save on a 21st Century auto insurance policy.
  • Texas Farm Bureau
    Texas Farm Bureau offers discounts if you have a safety device installed.
  • Electric Insurance
    Having an active or passive alarm system installed on your car can earn you a discount.
  • State Auto
    If you have extra security on your vehicle, State Auto will reward you with a discount.
  • Encompass
    Depending on whether you have a passive, active special lock or VIN etching, Encompass may offer you a discount on your comprehensive insurance.
  • Selective
    Having specific safety or anti-theft features installed can earn you a discount at Selective.

Frequently Asked Questions

While car insurance can cover theft incidents, specific coverage is necessary. Review the most frequently asked questions about whether insurance covers a stolen car below.

About the Author


Mark Fitzpatrick headshot

Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.