Discovering that your car has been stolen can be a frustrating and unnerving experience. If your auto insurance policy contains comprehensive coverage, which pays for a loss due to vehicle theft, you can receive the funds to obtain a replacement vehicle. Call the police as soon as you discover the theft and inform your insurance company promptly.
When you contact your insurer after your vehicle is stolen, it will examine your policy to confirm you carry comprehensive coverage. Depending on the insurer, you might have to wait for a predetermined time before the settlement process begins to give the police time to investigate the incident and possibly recover your vehicle. This helps to protect the insurer against fraudulent activity, such as a falsified theft report.
In addition to assessing the information contained in the police report, your insurance company will conduct its own investigation. An insurance company employee known as a claims adjuster will likely interview you and any potential witnesses to the incident. According to Autos.com, it is in your best interest to cooperate fully with the adjuster, as this can speed up the claims handling process and alleviate concerns that you might have committed insurance fraud.
If the insurer is satisfied that your vehicle was stolen and the waiting period has expired without recovery, it will begin the claim settlement process. In general, the company will pay you the current market value of your vehicle, minus the deductible, which is the amount you are required to pay out of your own pocket before your coverage goes into effect. Depending on your policy, you might also receive reimbursement for any expenses involved with renting a vehicle temporarily.
It's possible that the police will recover your vehicle during the waiting period and that it sustained damage. Depending on the extent of the damage, your insurer could either pay to repair it or declare the vehicle a total loss. As with when the company determines your vehicle was stolen, you will be responsible for paying the deductible. Your auto insurer will not pay to replace any missing personal effects, although your homeowners policy might provide this coverage.
Chris Joseph writes for websites and online publications, covering business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.