You walk to your driveway one early morning only to find an empty space where your car normally sits. You panic, call your local authorities and report your vehicle stolen. You then file a claim with your insurance provider.
Incredibly, the police find your car a week later, abandoned in an industrial park. You have your vehicle back, but some parts are missing, your stereo has been ripped out, and the windshield is smashed in. Now what?
According to recent studies, 1 in 5 stolen vehicles is recovered. But of these recovered vehicles, nearly 30% are returned with damages. This begs the question—what happens if a car is stolen and recovered but damaged? And are there any reimbursements for damaged, previously stolen vehicles?
What Happens if A Stolen Car is Recovered and Returned with Damages?
Once your car is located, your local authorities will contact you to pick up your vehicle. Depending on the amount of damage your vehicle has incurred, you might have to pick up your car from an impound lot. Make sure you retrieve your car as soon as possible, as the lot will likely charge you for holding the vehicle.
After you retrieve your car, you’ll want to call your insurance provider right away. Depending on your coverage, your insurance company will assess the damage to your vehicle payout repair costs or declare your car a total loss.
What Does Insurance Cover if a Car is Stolen and Recovered with Damages?
The amount of compensation you receive for your damaged vehicle depends on your insurance coverage.
Basic Car Insurance
The most basic car insurance policies such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and liability coverage will not cover auto theft or any damages incurred as a result of a theft.
As it turns out, homeowner’s insurance will usually cover the costs of personal items stolen in a vehicle break-in or theft, but terms vary depending on your carrier and region.
Comprehensive coverage will generally cover the cost of vehicle theft as well as any damages caused during car theft, such as vandalism and stolen vehicle parts. Comprehensive insurance is the number one policy for car theft assurance.
Gap coverage, also known as loan or lease gap coverage, helps you pay off an auto loan if your car is totaled or stolen and you owe more than the vehicle’s depreciated value. This type of coverage can be combined with comprehensive insurance and is recommended if you’re leasing or financing a new car.
Also, make sure to ask your insurance provider about your policy’s time limit. Most insurance policies specify a number of days you are allowed for the authorities to recover your vehicle before your car begins to lose value.
What Can You Do To Ensure Protection?
Prevention is the best medicine. Aside from making sure you have a solid car insurance plan in place, consider adding theft benefit coverage to your protection package.
Theft benefit is a way for drivers to receive financial assistance if their vehicle is stolen—whether your car is stolen and never recovered, recovered but declared a total loss, or recovered but damaged. When combined with a GPS recovery system, theft benefit can help you receive cash benefits or financial assistance for your unrecovered or damaged car.
The Elo+ Theft Benefit Solution
With Elo+ Theft Benefit protection, in the event that your vehicle is stolen and not recovered within 30 days or is recovered and declared a total loss, you will be eligible for a $3,000 cash benefit plus a $2,000 allowance towards the purchase of a replacement vehicle from your issuing dealer. If your stolen car is recovered and damaged, you will become eligible for reimbursement of up to $1,000 to pay your primary insurance deductible.
Adding Elo+ Theft Benefit to your vehicle protection plan will help you recover from vehicle theft, no matter the outcome. Talk to one of our theft benefit experts to learn how you can ensure better protection and find a dealership near you.