Does Car Insurance Cover Theft?

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Contributor, Benzinga
January 5, 2024

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Car insurance can cover theft, but only a certain type of car insurance called “comprehensive coverage” extends to the theft of your vehicle. Though comprehensive coverage isn’t a required coverage in any state, you may want to invest in a comprehensive insurance policy to help you cover costs if your car is stolen. Personal property contained within the vehicle may or may not be covered by car insurance. It’s important to know exactly what the policy covers and doesn’t cover. 

Quick Answer: Does Car Insurance Cover Theft?

Yes, so long as you have what is commonly known as comprehensive coverage or full coverage car insurance. States don't require this level of coverage by law, but most providers offer this type of auto policy. And if you have a leased or financed car, you may be required to hold this type of insurance before you can drive your car off the lot.

What Type of Car Insurance Do You Need?

There are a variety of different insurance plans and policy options you can buy to protect both yourself and your car. A few common auto insurance coverages you’ll see when you shop include:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: This type of insurance covers medical bills if you injure someone else in an accident. This is a required car insurance protection in most states.
  • Collision coverage: This type of protection covers damage to your own car in an accident. 
  • Personal injury protection: This insurance coverage type helps pay for medical bills for you and passengers from an accident. This is a required protection in some states.  
  • Property damage liability: Property damage liability coverage helps pay for the cost of repairing someone else’s property damage in the event of an accident. This is a required protection in most states. 
  • Uninsured motorist coverage: This type of vehicle insurance covers costs if you are in an auto accident with someone who is uninsured or has too little insurance to fully repair the damage they caused.  

Every type of auto insurance is designed to provide coverage for a unique type of situation. However, the only coverage that offers protection from car theft is comprehensive auto insurance. 

In the event that someone breaks into your car and steals something from inside the vehicle, you will need comprehensive coverage to be protected. Comprehensive coverage offers protection for damages that were caused by something other than your car driving into something else. 

The main items that are covered by comprehensive car insurance are:

  • Damage from a break-in
  • Stolen vehicle
  • Vandalism
  • Damage to vehicle while stolen
  • Stolen catalytic converter
  • Stolen and damage to car keys and fobs 
  • Damage resulting from a natural disaster

To determine what type of car insurance you should buy, consider how much coverage you need and how much coverage you can afford. Keep in mind that each state requires a minimum amount of insurance, but this is usually limited to basic liability insurance. You should look at different kinds of insurance to get the best possible coverage for you and your car.

Personal Property Insurance Coverage

Personal property consists of anything you own. Personal property coverage is its own type of insurance, separate from any car insurance. Therefore, not all comprehensive insurance plans come with coverage for your personal property. And even when it is included, there are some caveats that you need to be aware of. 

For example, if someone breaks into your car by smashing your window, the damage to your window is covered with a comprehensive coverage policy. However, if they break in and steal your wallet from inside the vehicle, the wallet, your personal property, may not be covered. It’s important to be proactive and know what is covered before this instance occurs and you’re left without any protection for your stolen belongings. 

Some car insurance companies offer property coverage for an added fee. Make sure you read the fine print of your auto insurance policy to determine whether your personal property is covered by your plan.  

What About Collision Coverage?

Collision insurance is coverage option that offers protection for damage that occurs to your car because of a collision with another vehicle or property. This coverage can help you pay for expenses associated with repairing or replacing your car if damaged in an accident. Collision coverage is an optional type of insurance that can be added onto your car insurance policy. Unlike property damage liability coverage, collision insurance provides you with coverage for damage that occurs to your own vehicle. It also covers hit-and-runs and cases where your vehicle rolls or falls over.  

Collision coverage generally offers coverage when the driver has some control in the incident. Things that are out of the driver’s control fall under the coverage of comprehensive plans. If you are leasing your car, the leaser will most likely require you to have collision coverage. Collision coverage does not cover damage resulting from incidents unrelated to driving, including theft. 

Benzinga’s Best Car Insurance Carriers

Though comprehensive coverage isn’t required by law, finding the right comprehensive plan can give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’re protected from theft. Some factors you might want to consider when you select a car insurance company may include:

  • Financial ratings
  • Company history and number of years of experience operating in your area
  • Online quoted price
  • Whether or not you already have a current policy with a company that also provides comprehensive auto insurance (allowing you to save money by bundling insurance products such as life insurance, home insurance, health insurance, etc)
  • Customer service quality

Not sure where to begin your search for the right comprehensive coverage? Use the chart below to explore a few of Benzinga’s favorite options.  

Tips on How to Prevent Car Theft

Car theft can be a daunting and distressing experience for any vehicle owner. Thankfully, there are several measures you can take to minimize the risk of car theft and safeguard your valuable asset.

  • Lock your car every time you leave it, regardless of whether you are gone for just a few minutes or an extended period.
  • Never leave your keys inside the vehicle. Even if you are quickly running into a store or leaving your car unattended for a short duration, it is important to take your keys with you. One practice to consider is keeping your keys and other valuables separate. This way, if a thief does break into your car hoping to steal your personal belongings or the vehicle itself, they won't have immediate access to both.
  • Invest in a car alarm system for an added layer of security. Modern car alarms come equipped with motion sensors, ignition disable functions, and even GPS tracking device, making it more difficult for thieves to get away unnoticed.
  • Park your car in a well-lit area. Ideally, park in a garage or a location with surveillance cameras. If neither option is available, try to find a spot that is highly visible.

By following these proactive measures, you can greatly reduce the risk of car theft and protect your vehicle and belongings. Remember, the goal is to make your vehicle less appealing to potential thieves and encourage them to move on to an easier target.

Finding Car Insurance that Covers Theft

While you may be more tempted to bypass comprehensive coverage and just get liability coverage because it is generally cheaper, it’s important to take into consideration all the possible accidents that can occur. Some things are just entirely out of your control and these incidents may leave you with major expenses that collision coverage doesn’t cover. 

As a car becomes older, you can drop collision and comprehensive coverage because it will start to offer less value to you. You may even find yourself paying more for the coverage than the car is worth. If you’re left choosing between collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, you should know that comprehensive offers more overall protection. Theft alone is something that comprehensive covers and collision does not. The chances of theft are completely out of your control and it could happen to anyone. 

Speak with an insurance agent in order to stay on top of what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. You can also schedule a 1-on-1 conversation with an insurance agent if you’re shopping around to compare policies and pricing. This will give you the best coverage you can find because you will be as informed as possible.  

Frequently Asked Questions


What type of insurance covers theft?


Comprehensive coverage offers coverage for theft. Comprehensive coverage is a type of insurance that compensates you for damage. Comprehensive insurance offers coverage for stolen vehicles, stolen vehicle parts and damage to the car resulting from a break in. Homeowners and renters insurance also cover theft — specifically theft of your personal property that occurs within your own home.


Are items stolen from your car covered by insurance?


Comprehensive coverage sometimes comes with coverage for property stolen, but a lot of comprehensive policies do not. Whether or not your comprehensive coverage will cover your personal property is very dependent on the specific policy and auto insurer. Some homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies offer coverage for thefts that occur from a break-in. 


Does car insurance cover theft of personal items?

Car insurance typically does not cover theft of personal items. However, some insurance policies may offer coverage for stolen personal belongings if they were inside the vehicle at the time of the theft. It is important to carefully review your auto insurance policy or consult with your insurance provider to determine what coverage is included for personal items. In many cases, separate renters or homeowners insurance may be necessary to protect personal belongings outside of the vehicle.

What do you need to do when filing a car theft claim?


When filing a car theft claim, it is important to contact the police and provide them with information about the theft. Next, notify your insurance company and provide them with the necessary documents. Cooperate fully with the investigation and follow the insurance company’s procedures and requirements. Keep in mind that each insurance company may have specific procedures and requirements for filing an auto insurance claim, so it’s essential to closely follow their instructions and guidelines.


About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.