Auto Theft and Car Insurance

When your car is stolen, your first concern may be how you are going to get it back. You might also be concerned about the condition it will be in or what might happen if the car is never found or is totaled. Thieves might take the air bags or catalytic converter and sell them for scrap. Cars may also have their wheels or rims removed. It is important to understand how auto theft and your car insurance are related.

How Car Insurance Covers Auto Theft

Your auto insurance policy has two sections. One is for liability coverage, which protects you in the event that you cause an accident that results in property or bodily damage (not your own). The second part consists of optional coverages like comprehensive coverage, which includes several types of damage or loss to your vehicle, such as the theft of auto parts or the entire car.

If your car is stolen, and you have comprehensive coverage, you must file a claim on your auto insurance policy. After you file a claim for the theft of your car, there will be a waiting period while the police and insurance company investigate the situation. If your car isn't recovered, your coverage kicks in.

Depending on your comprehensive coverage, if your vehicle is found but damaged, your policy should cover the repairs. However, if the damage is severe, your insurance company might declare your vehicle a total loss.

How Car Theft Affects Insurance Prices

Unfortunately, auto theft has an instant impact on car insurance rates. That is because car insurance companies will factor in the likelihood your car might get stolen into your car insurance rates.

If you buy a car that is highly targeted by car thieves OR you keep your car in an area that has a high rate of stolen cars, you can expect to pay more on auto insurance.

Commonly Stolen Cars

The most commonly stolen car in the United States in 2015 was the Honda Accord, with 52,244 vehicles stolen. The Honda Civic was the second-most commonly stolen car, with more than 49,000 thefts in 2015. Other vehicle makes and models that were most frequently stolen in the United States in 2015 included the:

  • Ford Pickup.
  • Chevrolet Pickup.
  • Toyota Camry.
  • Dodge Pickup.
  • Toyota Corolla.
  • Nissan Altima.
  • Dodge Caravan.
  • Chevrolet Impala.

Cities with Most Stolen Cars

It is also important to understand where most car thefts take place. Certain cities and zip codes have more theft than other areas. The top three cities for auto theft in 2015 were Modesto, CA; Albuquerque, NM; and Bakersfield, CA. Rounding out the top 10 cities for auto theft were:

  • Salinas, CA.
  • San Francisco, CA.
  • Stockton-Lodi, CA.
  • Pueblo, CO.
  • Merced, CA.
  • Riverside, CA.
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA.

What You Can Do About Auto Theft and the Price of Your Car Insurance

Try to choose a car that is not on the top 10 list of stolen vehicles. If you live in a high-theft area, consider installing a passive or active anti-theft device on your vehicle. Auto insurers in several states are required to discount their base rates if customers install passive anti-theft devices and activate them when they are not in their cars.

Discounts average 15 to 20 percent from your typical car auto insurance rate. You could also install an active anti-theft device, such as an auto recovery GPS unit. Both types of these anti-theft devices could enable you to enjoy a reduction of up to 25 percent off the base rate of your auto insurance premium.

Even if your car is not stolen, your rates are affected by other cases of auto theft. You can take action by researching the most commonly stolen car types and the areas of your community where car thefts occur the most. Installing one or more theft-prevention devices may also help to reduce your risk of auto theft and keep your car auto insurance rates affordable.