Will my insurance replace my car if it is stolen?

Navigating the murky waters of auto insurance could be one of the most frustrating events you’ll ever face. This is especially true if your car has been stolen. Several questions will arise, including whether your insurer will replace your stolen car. The answer is not always as clear as we would like.

Help, my car has been stolen!

A man breaks into a parked car at night | Looping Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Vehicles are such an integral part of our daily lives that stealing them can be devastating. There’s a long list of things you’ll need to do, like call the police, tell your insurance company, and let the loan agency know you’re no longer in possession of the car you still need to make payments on. . . Then there is the emotional distress of dealing with the trauma of losing something so precious.

Worse still, you may never get your stolen car back. Even if you do, it’s unlikely to be in the same condition it was stolen from. In reality, Erie Insurance reports that only 45% of stolen cars in the United States return to their owners.

However, one of the biggest questions you will face is, “Will my insurance replace my car if it’s stolen?” »

So, will insurance replace my stolen car?

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Unfortunately, the answer to this question depends on your insurance company and the type of coverage in your policy. Car theft is covered by a comprehensive policy, so if you don’t have one, your insurance company won’t help you.

If you have full coverage, your insurance will award you the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle, minus the deductible. This is where things will probably give you a headache, because the ACV and the amount your loan company says you owe might not match.

The ACV is basically how much your car was worth when it was stolen, not how much you paid for it. This means that if your loan amount is greater than the ACV, you are still expected to pay the loan balance. Some policies may cover you in this situation, so be sure to speak with your insurer.

If you have rental car insurance, your insurer will pay for transportation for a few days, but there is a limit to how much time you have.

As for replacing your car, if you still have money left over from the ACV, you can invest it in a new vehicle. If you do not have additional funds, your insurance company will not replace you.

Ways to prevent car theft

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Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to prevent all car thefts. A determined car thief will find a way to succeed. Fortunately, many people who steal vehicles are not like the group of I’m going there in 60 seconds, who do it out of challenge or because they think it’s a noble art. In fact, most thieves are looking for the easiest opportunity.

That said, don’t leave your keys in your car when you’re not there. Also, keep doors locked at all times.

Car alarms may not be perfect, but they are a good deterrent. No would-be thief wants all eyes on them as a car alarm sounds. This is especially true for someone trying to get away with your vehicle.

There are also options like immobilizers, fuse cutouts and even wheel locks that could deter thieves. However, hiding your valuables from curious passers-by will make your car a less tempting target.

Finally, always park in busy, well-lit areas. This is important for your personal safety and to deter potential thieves from stealing your car.

RELATED: 5 things you should do if your car has been broken into

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