How your insurer covers car theft

Stolen vehicles are covered by comprehensive

If someone steals your wheels and it is not recovered, your insurer will cut you a check for the market value of your car if you have comprehensive coverage. If your vehicle is recovered and damaged, the repairs should be covered by your insurer. A deductible may apply in either situation.

A common misconception is that you must carry “full coverage” in order to be insured against auto theft. Some people define “full coverage” as including both comprehensive and collision on your policy. However, comprehensive coverage can be purchased separately from collision and usually costs less.

Because it only costs $22/month on average at Progressive, comprehensive coverage is highly recommended for your protection in case your vehicle is stolen. Plus, comprehensive also covers vandalism and glass breakage—which are two incidents that sometimes coincide with theft. Get a free car insurance quote online or call 866-749-7436 to see how affordable it can be for you.

Vehicle upgrades are protected with custom parts and equipment coverage

Custom parts and equipment (CPE) coverage—available at Progressive and most insurers for an added cost—covers custom paint jobs and grilles, navigation systems, car stereo upgrades, and anything else that the original manufacturer did not install. CPE coverage also applies in instances where the parts or equipment were stolen, but the vehicle was not.

Most auto policies will not cover aftermarket, custom parts and modifications to your vehicle over a certain amount. For instance, if your newly-added 24-inch rims are stolen, you’ll usually need CPE coverage to insure them.

At Progressive, any equipment valued at $1,000 or less is covered under your comprehensive coverage. Equipment worth over $1,000 requires CPE coverage, which is usually inexpensive. Keep in mind, the $1,000 limit encompasses all of your upgrades. So, if you’ve spent $900 on a custom paint job and $800 on a new stereo, you’ll still need another $700 in CPE coverage. It’s a good idea to keep a record of every upgrade made to your vehicle and save your receipts.

The maximum amount of CPE coverage Progressive offers is $5,000. If your insurer isn’t offering enough CPE coverage, call and ask how you can best protect your customizations.

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. The ACV is the market value for your car based on pre-loss condition, age, options, mileage, etc. In some cases, the amount won’t be enough to pay off your loan or lease. If you owe more on your vehicle loan than what it’s worth, consider purchasing gap coverage, which can cover a percentage of the difference between the balance owed and the ACV. At Progressive, we call it “Loan/Lease Payoff” coverage and it only costs around $5/month on average.

Personal Property: For stuff kept in your car

Items stolen out of your vehicle, like a laptop, briefcase, or phone are not covered under your auto insurance. You’ll need a homeowners, renters, or condo policy to protect any belongings stolen out of your car.

Pro tips for dealing with auto theft

It can feel like a real-life nightmare when you discover your car is not where you parked it. It’s important to keep a clear head and consider whether something else happened.

  • Was it parked illegally and towed away?
  • If you’re behind on payments, was it repossessed?
  • Call the police to find out if it was impounded or claimed by a creditor. If it wasn’t, immediately report the vehicle as stolen. Keep in mind that vehicles with tracking devices may help police recover your car.
  • Finally, contact your insurance company right away to file a car theft claim.

Anti-theft discounts

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. The qualifications will vary by state and may require comprehensive coverage.