How insurers cover car theft

Stolen vehicles are protected by comprehensive coverage

If someone steals your vehicle and it's not recovered, your insurer will cut you a check for the current value of your car if you have comprehensive coverage. If your vehicle is recovered but sustained damage while stolen, the repairs should be covered by comprehensive. In both situations, your comprehensive deductible would apply.

A common misconception is that you must carry "full coverage car insurance" to be insured against auto theft. Although there's not technically a full coverage insurance product, many lenders define full coverage as including both comprehensive and collision on your policy. However, depending on your insurer, comprehensive coverage can be purchased separately from collision coverage; it typically costs less and provides protection from theft.

Because comprehensive coverage only costs $23 per month on average at Progressive, it's highly recommended for your protection and peace of mind in case your vehicle gets stolen. Comprehensive also covers vandalism and glass breakage, both of which can coincide with theft. Get a free car insurance quote online or call 1-866-749-7436 to see how affordable it can be for you.

Vehicle upgrades are protected with custom parts and equipment coverage

Most auto policies won't cover the replacement or repair of aftermarket, custom parts, and modifications to your vehicle over a certain amount. However, custom parts and equipment (CPE) coverage — available at Progressive and most insurers for an added cost — can cover stolen parts or equipment. For instance, if your newly added 24-inch rims are stolen, you'd likely need CPE coverage to insure them.

At Progressive, comprehensive coverage will insure up to $1,000 in repair or replacement costs for custom parts and equipment. Repairs or replacements above and beyond $1,000 require CPE coverage, which is typically inexpensive.

Gap coverage: For loan and lease payoffs

If your car is stolen, your insurer will pay you the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle minus your deductible. It's possible that the ACV amount wouldn't be sufficient to pay off your loan or lease due to factors like interest and depreciation. If the amount you owe is greater than the value of your vehicle, consider purchasing gap coverage, which can cover a percentage of the difference between the balance owed and the ACV. At Progressive, we refer to this as "loan/lease payoff" coverage, and it only costs around $5 per month on average.

Does auto insurance cover theft of personal items from your car?

No, your auto insurance won't cover personal items stolen from your vehicle, such as your laptop, briefcase, or cell phone. However, your renters or homeowners policy may cover personal belongings stolen from your car, even if they were stolen while the car wasn't on your property. Electronic device insurance can also cover stolen cell phones, laptops, and other devices you choose to cover.

Does liability insurance cover a stolen car?

No. Liability insurance will cover you if you cause bodily injury or property damage to someone else, but it won't cover a stolen vehicle. Collision coverage won't protect you from theft either. Comprehensive is the only coverage that can cover car theft or damage to your car caused by a theft or break-in.

What to do when your car is stolen

It can feel like a real-life nightmare when you discover your car isn't where you parked it. Before reporting it stolen, rule out these possibilities:

  • Was it parked illegally and towed away?
  • If you're behind on payments, was it repossessed?
  • Was it impounded or claimed by a creditor?

If your car was indeed stolen, immediately file a report. Keep in mind that having a tracking device on your vehicle may help police recover it. After filing a police report, contact your insurance company right away to file a car theft claim.

What happens when your car is stolen and recovered?

If your vehicle has been stolen and recovered, let your insurance company know immediately. If the car has been damaged, your comprehensive coverage can pay for repairs, up to any limits and minus your deductible.

Can I get an anti-theft discount?

Some insurers offer discounts for vehicles with manual and passive alarms or tracking devices. You may even earn a discount if your car's vehicle identification number is engraved on the window or door glass. Progressive offers an anti-theft discount in some states. Eligibility varies by state and requires comprehensive coverage.