Does Auto Insurance Cover Car Theft?
The state of Colorado has seen an alarming increase in the number of car thefts in recent years. In fact, as of 2022, it is the top state in the nation for auto theft, with over 24,000 cars already stolen in the first half of this year. If you or someone you know has been a victim of car theft, you may be wondering what to do next and if your vehicle’s insurance will reimburse you.
Why Is Car Theft on the Rise?
The most likely reason that car theft is increasing is because it is more lucrative. Inflation and supply chain problems have resulted in a 35% increase in the cost of new and used cars and their parts. Cars can be resold or broken down for a premium, especially if the parts are in high demand (and most of them are).
Why Are Catalytic Converters Being Stolen?
Again inflation and supply chain issues have made cars and certain parts extremely valuable. Catalytic converters, in particular, are targeted for two main reasons: 1) they are located on the underside of the vehicle and fairly easy to remove; and 2) they contain trace amounts of extremely valuable precious metals. Platinum, palladium, and rhodium are ten times more valuable than gold. Even in trace amounts, catalytic converters can be resold for up to $250 each.
Where Are Cars Stolen?
In Colorado, four cities rank in the top ten in the country for stolen cars: Denver, Aurora, Westminster, and Pueblo. By far, the largest number of vehicles are stolen from Denver International Airport.
In general, the longer a vehicle is left unattended, the higher the risk it will be stolen. If you can, avoid parking at the airport and use a ride-share or have a friend bring you instead.
Top Cars Stolen Colorado
Perhaps not coincidentally, the most common cars stolen tend to be the ones most people are buying. They are also typically older models with outdated or fewer security features. Cars with in-demand parts are also at risk. In Colorado, the 5 most common vehicles stolen last year were:
- 2005 Chevrolet Silverado Truck
- 2004 Ford F-250
- 2000 Honda Civic
- 1997 Honda Accord
- 2017 Hyundai Sonata
Honda Accord and Honda Civic are also in the top five for most common vehicles stolen in the US.
Comprehensive Auto Insurance and Stolen Cars
In order to qualify for reimbursement of a stolen vehicle, the owner generally requires comprehensive auto insurance. Unlike the more basic liability or collision insurance, comprehensive insurance covers other scenarios besides an accident. This includes theft, vandalism, or damages related to weather (hail, water damage, fires, etc.).
If you live in Colorado and you do not have a comprehensive auto insurance policy, consider upgrading. The high risk of auto theft combined with our notorious storm season are reason enough to warrant better coverage.
What If Someone Stole Something From Inside My Car?
Unfortunately, comprehensive auto insurance does not typically cover items that were stolen from inside the car. Most policies will only reimburse you for the vehicle itself and for items that are permanent or pre-installed fixtures within the car. Your homeowner’s insurance policy, however, may cover personal items that were stolen.
On that note, if your car was stolen and had valuables inside, you will need to file two separate insurance claims: one with your auto insurance, and one with your homeowner’s insurance.
What To Do If Your Car Was Stolen
If your car was stolen, the first thing you need to do is file a police report. You will need the following information when you call or speak directly to the police:
- The make, model, and year of your car
- License plate number
- VIN (vehicle identification number)
- Where the car was stolen
- Any distinct markings, bumper stickers, visible damage, etc.
The next call should be to your insurance company to report the theft and start the claims process. They may request a copy of the police report, along with other documentation.
If your vehicle is recovered, you will want to inspect it thoroughly for any damage or missing parts. You will still need to work with your insurance company to replace or repair any noted issues with the returned vehicle.
When To Hire an Attorney for Car Theft
If your car theft insurance claim is being delayed or was denied for any reason, your next step should be to contact an insurance attorney. Your insurance company has a duty to you to settle your claim fairly and promptly. Companies who refuse to do this may be acting in bad faith, and you will need a qualified attorney to advocate on your behalf.
If you or someone you know has had their vehicle stolen in Colorado, contact Dave Roth with the Roth Group. Dave has helped hundreds of policyholders negotiate fair settlements with their insurance companies. Call or go online to schedule your free consultation today.