Does Your Insurance Cover a Stolen Car?

There are few things more frustrating than dealing with theft. If you’ve ever walked outside to get to your car and realize it’s vanished, you will know that sinking feeling in your stomach to well.  

If you find yourself the victim of auto theft, this post will break down all the steps you need to take with your insurance provide and cover what your auto insurance does and doesn’t cover. We’ll also explain ways that you can mitigate the risk of your car being targeted. 

Is My Car Covered if it Gets Stolen or Vandalized? 

When safeguarding your vehicle from vandalization or theft, ensure your insurance policies cover you adequately. Two coverage options you could go with are: 

Specified Perils  

This coverage only includes coverage for specific situations:

  • Theft or attempted theft  
    • except from an employee or member of your household 
  • Fire 
  • Explosion 
  • Weather incidents 
    • Earthquake 
    • Windstorm 
    • Hail 
    • Rising Water 
  • Riot or Civil Commotion 
  • Falling or forced landing of an aircraft 

Comprehensive Coverage 

Comprehensive coverage will include coverage from the Specified Perils list, as well as: 

  • Windshield Damage  
  • Malicious mischief  
  • Damage from hitting a domestic or wild animal  
  • Vandalism 

One last thing to consider when you are weighing your options for coverage is the cost of damage to the environment that could happen if your car is stolen. Getting caught without theft insurance could lead to additional costs to recoup your vehicle if it is found in a ditch or down an embankment.  

Does My Insurance Cover Valuables that Were Stolen From My Car?

The answer is that it depends, and if there is an item you want to have insured, connect with your broker to confirm for certainty. Items permanently attached to your car, such as a sound system, could be covered, depending on the circumstance. 

Your auto insurance policy will not cover personal items or items that are left in your car. These items may be covered under your home or renters insurance policy.   

It is important to note that multiple theft claims in a short timeframe could impact your eligibility for coverage. Make sure you connect with your broker to identify and understand what is and isn’t covered in the event of stolen valuables. 

How Does a Claim for Auto Theft or Vandalism Affect My Insurance Rates?

In short, it won’t. The only case that it would affect your insurance rates is if there are an above average amount of claims reported under your policy.  

If you fall into the bucket of an above-average amount of theft claims, you could still get covered with an Escalating Deductible. This higher-than-normal deductible could range from $500 to $2,500 if you are a victim of theft or vandalism. In rare cases, you could be denied the option to purchase Specified Peril coverage or Comprehensive Coverage. 

In following sections, we will review some ways to deter car theft so you are less likely to fall into this category.  

What Do I Do if My Car is Stolen?

Nobody wants to walk out to their car and see that it’s no longer there, but unfortunately that can be a reality. Below are the steps to take if this happens to you: 

  1. Report it to the police within 48 hours 
    1. They will require all relevant details about your vehicle like make, model, colour, license plate number and any distinctive features. 
    2. Make a note of your police number. 
  2. Contact Your Insurance Provider  
    1. Provide them with the same details that you provided to the police.  
    2. Follow the step-by-step instructions they provide you on initiating a claim.
    3. This step is the most important to start the process of recovering your loss 
  3. Confirm your loss of use coverage 
    1. Review your policy to confirm if you have Loss of Use coverage. Depending on your coverage, you may be on the hook for any transportation costs incurred the first 72 hours after the incident.
      1. If you do have coverage, you are eligible for reimbursement of expenses incurred while your vehicle is missing. This can include the cost of a rental car, the prices of taxis, or public transportation. Ensure you confirm your daily limit with your provider, and confirm your first date of eligibility for these costs.
      2. If you don’t have coverage, you will be eligible for $40 per day with a total limit of $800 for any transportation-related costs incurred.
  4. Your claims representative will be assigned to your case 
    1. They may ask you for additional details about the theft. 
    2. Ensure you make a note of the representative’s contact information, as well as the case number that they provide to you.
  5. ICBC will estimate the damage of your vehicle 
    1. If your vehicle is repairable, ICBC will provide you a damage estimate.
    2. If your vehicle isn’t repairable, or it’s not economical to repair the vehicle, you’ll receive a payment depending on your cars value, and your claim will be closed.
  6. Find a ICBC Repair Facility
    1. Once you have the repair estimate from ICBC, you will find a repair facility within BC.
    2. Once the repairs are made, you will pay your deductible to the shop, and your case will be closed.
    3. Ensure you collect a copy of all documents of repair from the shop.   

The timeline for how long these instances take vary case-by-case. First, it’s important to be aware of the Waiting Period, which is the amount of time the police and insurance company will search for your stolen vehicle If your vehicle is not found within this period, they will move to the next step, assessing your vehicle’s value to pay you out.  

Throughout this process, ensure you are keeping in contact with your local police office and your insurance company in case they need to collect additional information from you. 

What Can I Do to Deter Car Theft?

Car theft is not always preventable. However there are steps you can take to help deter thieves from targeting your vehicle. 

Everyday Habits To Prevent Theft 

  • Ensure valuables and coins are not left in your car or visible in plain sight. 
  • Park in a well lit area with high pedestrian traffic. 
  • Ensure your keys are always somewhere safe so strangers can’t take them. 
  • Don’t leave your garage door opener in your car. 

Additional Measures To Prevent Theft 

  • Ensure your vehicle is equipped with an alarm. 
  • Purchase and have an electronic immobilizer installed for your vehicle. 
  • Purchase and use a steering wheel lock. 

For a comprehensive list of tips and tricks, visit ICBC. 

When is Car Theft Not Covered?

There are specific instances where car theft claims may not be covered, so it is equally crucial to know what is covered. As we mentioned, if your coverage includes Specified Perils, anything outside those instances won’t be eligible to be covered.  

Additionally, your policy will not cover theft when a member of your household or an employee has stolen the vehicle or caused damage, or theft occurs when the vehicle is in lawful possession of someone under a lease, rental agreement, or written agreement. 

At Park, we make getting insurance easy for you. Our Insurance Brokers will walk you through all your insurance options and determine what coverage you need. From there, your broker will arrange your basic insurance through ICBC and find you pricing for any optional coverage you are interested in. To get started, fill out the form on this page, and one of our brokers will connect with you! All you will need to get started is a valid driver’s license.   

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