Does car insurance cover theft?

Yes, if you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, auto insurance can help pay for your stolen vehicle if you don't recover it. Depending on your policy, you may also have coverage for custom parts, paint, rims, and other aftermarket additions. Comprehensive coverage is optional, though, so you won't be covered if you only have your state-required coverages. Personal property (cell phones, laptops, tools, etc.) stolen from your car won't be covered by auto insurance, but you'll likely be protected under a home, renters, or condo policy.

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Man in a mask driving away with a stolen car

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 theft or break-in.

How does insurance cover a stolen car?

Here's how insurance can cover car theft scenarios:

  • Stolen vehicle that's not recovered: Auto comprehensive coverage may cut you a check for the car's actual cash value (ACV), minus your deductible.
  • Stolen vehicle that's recovered: Auto comprehensive coverage may cover any resulting damages like broken windows and other vandalism that occurred during a car theft if the car is recovered.
  • Items stolen out of vehicle: Items like electronics stolen out of your vehicle won't be covered by car insurance, but they may be covered by your property insurance policy.

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 your car's current value if you have comprehensive coverage. This may be true even if the car was stolen with the keys in it. If you recover your vehicle, but it sustained damage while stolen, the repairs should be covered by comprehensive. In both situations, your comprehensive auto deductible would apply.

Person breaking into a car

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, you can purchase comprehensive coverage separately from collision coverage; it typically costs less and protects your from theft.

Because comprehensive coverage only costs about $12 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 car vandalism and glass breakage, 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.

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 car modifications 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 someone steals your newly added 24-inch rims, you'll 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.

Example:You spent $900 on a custom paint job and $800 on a new stereo, which you'll want to replace due to damage during a theft. On top of the $1,000 your comprehensive could pay out; you'd need an extra $700 from CPE to fully cover the new paint job and replace the new stereo.

How does an insurance company determine the value of a stolen vehicle?

It differs by insurer and policy, but typically, car insurance companies determine the value of a stolen vehicle by using its actual cash value (ACV). The ACV is what your car is worth after factoring in its depreciation (including its age, mileage, condition, and more). This calculation can be complex, and at Progressive, we work with a third party to determine the value of a stolen car. You can get an idea of your car's value by using this car depreciation calculator.

Person holding cash

Gap coverage: For loan and lease payoffs

Your vehicle's actual cash value (ACV) may not be sufficient to pay off your car loan or lease due to factors like interest and depreciation. If the amount you owe exceeds your car's ACV, consider purchasing gap coverage, which can cover the difference between the balance owed and the ACV. At Progressive, we offer a similar coverage called "loan/lease payoff" coverage. It covers up to 25% of your vehicle's value, depending on your state and situation.

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 someone stole them 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.

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 your car 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 someone stole your car, file a police report immediately. Remember that having a tracking device on your vehicle may help police recover it. After filing a police report, contact your insurance company immediately to file a car theft claim.

What happens when your car is stolen and recovered?

If your vehicle has been stolen and recovered, inform your insurance company immediately. If the car has sustained damage, 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 car insurance 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.

Make sure your car is protected from theft

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Log in to your policy or call 1-866-749-7436 anytime to check on your coverages.

New Progressive customers

Get a car insurance quote online or call us at 1-866-749-7436 for customized coverage.

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