What Happens If a Stolen Car Is Recovered After an Insurance Payout?

If a Stolen Car Is Recovered After an Insurance Payout in San Diego, CA

Auto theft is a property crime that affects not just drivers but also law enforcement agencies and insurance agencies. In 2015, the San Diego County Regional Auto Theft Task Force reported that out of the 9,015 vehicles stolen during the year, the top three models were Honda Civics from the years 1997, 1998, and 2000. Although most stolen cars are never seen again, some are recovered after the insurance agency has issued a payout to the driver. Here is what happens in these situations.

The Insurance Claim

If your car has gone missing, the first thing you should do is report the incident to law enforcement. The police officers who respond to your call will take your statement for the purpose of starting the investigation. They will also leave you with a case number and a copy of their report that you can use to initiate the insurance claim.

While the police look for your car, your National City car insurance agency will review the terms of the policy and calculate the value of the vehicle at the time it was stolen. This determines the payout you receive.

Auto Insurance Coverage for Theft

Car theft situations underscore the advantages of paying for comprehensive auto insurance instead of getting the minimum required by law. You should consider the add-on coverage items that allow you to get expedited claims processing and a fair settlement while you enjoy the convenience of driving a nice rental car in the meantime. For instance, if you drive a Honda Civic, you know thieves are looking for a car like yours, and thus it makes sense to protect it with adequate insurance.

When Your Car Is Located

If your car turns up while the claims process is still ongoing, the insurance agency will assign an adjuster to look at the vehicle and learn more about the case. If your car was stolen by joyriding teens who crashed against a tree before fleeing, the adjuster will then estimate the damage and what it would take to repair the car so you can drive it again. This will change the nature of the claim, particularly if the damage is extensive and may qualify as a total loss.

When Police Recover Your Car

Let’s say detectives investigating chop shops in Los Angeles find your car waiting to be stripped for parts but otherwise intact. Since you reported the theft in the first place, the police will contact you instead of the insurance agency. If you have already received a payout for your claim, the car is now the property of the insurance agency. Therefore, it is your duty to contact the agency and let them know where they can find the vehicle. The National City cheap car insurance agency may not want to salvage the vehicle. In some cases, they may release the title back to you, but you can refuse it if you believe it is not worth the hassle.

If you’d like to know more about coverage for your vehicle in the event of theft, get in touch with American Tri-Star for affordable online auto insurance quotes. National City vehicle owners can call 619-474-3900 today to speak with a friendly and knowledgeable agent.