thief steals car

What Happens if a Stolen Car is Recovered After You’ve Received an Auto Insurance Payout?

stolen car recovered during claim process

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 228.9 vehicles per 100,000 people were stolen in 2018. Depending on the kind of car you have and where you park it, you might just fall prey to car thieves yourself.

If your car is stolen, there are steps to take. But first you should be prepared with the right kind of policy. Comprehensive insurance will protect you if your vehicle is stolen. It will also cover theft of parts of the car and damage from a storm, falling objects and vandalism. Policies of this kind usually also cover you if your car is damaged by an animal, such as if you hit a deer on the road.

What Your Insurance Will Probably Pay Out on A Stolen Car?

If your car is stolen, report it to the police. Then, inform your insurance carrier. Here’s what will happen when you file a claim:

  • Typically, comprehensive insurance will pay you the value of the car. This is the amount you could sell it for in its present condition, as opposed to what you’d have to pay to replace it.
  • The payout from the carrier will include a deduction for an excess amount that is pre-determined by your insurance policy.

If Your Stolen Car Is Recovered During The Claims Process

Let’s say your car was stolen. You file a claim with your auto insurance provider and purchase a replacement car. But just as you’re getting used to your new car, and maybe even falling in love with it, your old stolen vehicle is recovered. Now what?

Your recovered car, which is probably worth more than the payout you received, now belongs to your insurance carrier.

When your stolen car is returned to you, call your insurance company to find out what happens next. A couple of scenarios are possible:

  • If you want, you may be able to buy the recovered car back from the insurance company.
  • If the carrier decides that the value of the recovered car is so low it’s not worth the expense of having the car collected for salvage, you may be able to keep the car.

None of this matters if you fail to have the right auto coverage in the first place. Learn more about your options, and use our quote tool to compare policies.

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