Published: April 2015
Your car represents a significant investment; maybe one of the most expensive things you own. So keeping it, and its contents, safe and secure should be a top priority.
But even if you follow all the proper precautions, you could still find yourself the victim of auto theft. In order to help protect yourself against vehicle theft and related damage, it's important to know what insurance you have.
In order to protect yourself against loss and damages due to vehicle theft, you'll generally want comprehensive coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This type of insurance coverage usually helps pays for replacement of parts stolen from a vehicle (in addition to helping pay for theft of the entire vehicle), such as an airbag or mechanical parts. If you're a victim of vehicle theft and you don't have comprehensive coverage, you will typically be responsible for replacing the car yourself or any damages incurred to the vehicle if it is recovered.
In addition, comprehensive insurance typically protects you if your vehicle is damaged by a storm, vandalism, windshield damage and falling objects, such as a tree or hail. Drivers with comprehensive coverage are also usually covered for animal damage, like hitting a deer.
Of course, comprehensive coverage comes with a deductible that is typically up to $1,000. Each time you make an auto claim, you are responsible to pay the amount of the deductible and then your insurer pays the rest of the claim up to the estimated value of the car, when applicable.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every 44 seconds someone walks into their garage, driveway or parking area to discover that their vehicle has been stolen. The FBI reports that 699,595 vehicles were reported stolen in 2013. Many people assume that if their car is stolen that the police will quickly find the vehicle. But the NHTSA says only 52 percent of stolen vehicles are recovered and returned to their owners.
Many car thefts can be prevented by taking some simple precautions. The NHTSA found that more than 40 percent of all thefts were the result of driver error, like leaving the keys in the ignition or leaving the doors unlocked. To help avoid becoming a statistic, follow these common-sense recommendations by the NHTSA:
- Do not leave the keys in the ignition, even in your driveway or on the street in front of your house.
- Park your car in a garage, if possible. Otherwise, park in a well-lit location.
- Take all valuables with you when you leave the car. Make sure purses, electronics or laptops are not visible from the windows.
- Lock all windows and doors of your car each time you exit.