Everyone knows that car insurance is there to help when your vehicle has been damaged. But what happens when all you have left is an empty parking space?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, more than 700,000 vehicles are stolen in the United States each year. And compared to a car accident or weather damage, a stolen car asks more questions than answers. How do I file a claim? Will I ever get my car back? If it's total, when will I see it again?
Relax and take a deep breath. Because we are here to explain how car insurance can help you cover if someone steals your trip.
Is theft covered by car insurance?
Similar to hail damage or vandalism, car crashes are considered a non-collision event. This means that comprehensive insurance can help you cover the cost of your stolen car ̵
Unlike car liability coverage, comprehensive coverage is optional if you own your vehicle directly. If you have a loan on your car, the chances are high that your lender will require a collision and comprehensive insurance. However, whether required by your lender or not, comprehensive coverage is the best way to ensure that you will be protected if your car is stolen.
Will comprehensive insurance replace my stolen vehicle?
is treated in the same way as a total loss from a car accident. Comprehensive insurance can provide protection up to the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle, minus your deductible. ACV represents the car's current, depreciated market value – not the price you paid for it.
Do you still owe money on your vehicle? Because the cash payment for a stolen car is based on its actual cash value – not the amount you have left on your car loan – you may be in a tough spot if your car is worth less than you owe.
This is where ERIE's New Auto Safety Coverage Approval * can help you by making the difference between your insurance settlement and the remaining loan item (Ask your local agent for information and availability in your country.)
What happens if your car is recovered ?
It is important that you report the theft immediately to the police and to the ERIE. If your car is found, a damage controller will assess the damage and determine the cost of repairing it.
Extensive coverage can help pay for the damage to your car while it was not in your possession minus your deductible. If it is considered a total loss, you will receive the actual cash value of your car minus your deductible.
What's the chance of finding my car?
Unfortunately, less than half of all stolen cars are found – around 45% across the country. So even if there is a chance that you will get your car back, it is another matter if it is worth repairing.
Usually, insurance companies wait about 30 days before counting the theft as a total loss. After that, an extensive coverage will pay for the car's actual cash value (ACV) minus your deductible.
If you have a tracking device or GPS security system in your vehicle, you may have a better chance of finding your car. Factory remote assistance services such as OnStar may determine the location of the vehicle or reduce engine power if it has been reported stolen. LoJack is also an option for people who want to buy an aftermarket system.
Am I covered for a rental car?
Rental car coverage can help pay for a rental car while you do not have access to yours after a covered loss. However, you should always ask your agent how many days a rental will be covered according to your policy.
If you are an ERIE customer, our comprehensive coverage covers basic car rental coverage for covered losses such as car theft. Basic rental coverage provides a compact sedan rental car and a larger vehicle can be selected if you purchase additional coverage.
This coverage varies by state, so ask your insurance agent about car rental coverage before you are in a situation where you need it. In most states, you are covered for a rental for up to 45 days. (Virginia and North Carolina work differently.) Learn more about car insurance and car rental.
How to prevent car additions
Anyway looking at it, dealing with a stolen vehicle is a very inconvenience. Wouldn't it be easier to avoid the headaches in the first place?
Most often, car thieves look for simple targets. So the more deterrents you put between them and your car, the more likely it is to avoid the risk.
Here are some quick tips to keep criminals at bay:
- Protect your keys . Many thefts happen due to the driver's fault, such as leaving your keys in the car. Thousands of vehicles are stolen with the owner's keys every year, so it's more common than you might think. Never leave your keys in the car. And remember to keep them out of sight whenever possible.
- Unlock it . When it comes to car supplements, half the battle will come. And an unlocked car gives criminals easy access to the driver's seat. Each time you reach your destination, roll up the windows, turn off the engine and lock the door. That way, if a criminal targets your car, they will have to work harder to catch it for a spin.
- Buy a car alarm . A permanent car alarm is usually enough to arouse suspicion, especially if the person in the front seat is struggling to turn it off. Install an alarm to alert your car when it is broken into. As a bonus, anti-theft devices such as a car alarm can also lower your insurance rate.
- Park Carefully . A dark, unprotected area is perfect protection for car thieves. If you park on the street or in a parking lot, choose a well-lit place so that suspects are easily visible. Park in a garage if possible to protect your car from the dangers outside.
- Use anti-theft devices . Invest in a system that prevents your car from starting or turning the wheel, such as immobilizers, wheel locks and safety interruptions. Some are more expensive than others, but most criminals do not waste time figuring out how to steal the car and risk remembering.
- Hide your valuables . Sometimes cars are not directed because of how nice the vehicle is, but because of what is inside. If you have something of value in your car, always keep it out of sight.
What to do if your car is stolen
Although you can reduce the risk of a car permit enormously, there is always a chance that your vehicle may be stolen. Here's what you do when you find an empty space where you parked your car:
- Contact the police . When you discover that your vehicle has been stolen, call the police immediately. Tell them everything you know about your car, from make and model to vehicle identification number (VIN) and all identifying features, such as bumper stickers. Make sure your answer is honest and detailed.
- Call your local ERIE agent . Your agent is here to help loosen the knots and restore balance after something unexpected happens. He or she can also talk to you by filing an insurance claim. When you submit an application, it helps to have as much information to share as possible, such as where your vehicle was stolen and where any spare keys are stored. You should also provide your leasing or finance company with contact information and a copy of the police report.
- Call your lender . If your car has not been paid for, contact your leasing or financing company. Once the claim has been processed, your insurance company will pay the lender directly. Ask your lender to contact your insurance company if there is any confusion.
Go back on the road
Car thieves can steal your wheels, but they do not have to take your rest. At ERIE, our commitment to you extends beyond your auto policy. Your protection means that you restore your life after a claim and give yourself personal, future-oriented service.
Contact your local ERIE insurance agent to help recover what was lost and get back to your life.
* Vehicles are considered new when less than two years old. Eligible vehicles must have both comprehensive and collision coverage and replacement must be done with a comparable model. The endorsement is sold by vehicle, not by policy and contains specific details about the coverage, conditions and exceptions. New vehicle replacement and better replacement of vehicles do not apply to rented vehicles. When payment is made during the replacement of a new vehicle or better replacement of the vehicle, automatic leasing / loan coverage will not apply. Coverage is not available in all states. Insurance products are covered by terms and exceptions not described here. The coverage does not include items such as overdue payments and transfer balances from previous leases / loans, etc. Ask your agent for more information.