Stolen Car

"It's gone!" said the man on the phone. "I walked outside this morning to drive to work and my car is gone! What do I do?"

  1. Call the police. You should be ready to provide the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate number. There is a chance your vehicle is sitting at the impound lot. If so you may require a proof of insurance letter from your agent or broker. You will be need to do a police report if the vehicle is stolen.
  2. Call your insurance company or your local agent or broker to report the claim.
  3. Your insurance adjuster will confirm your coverage with you. In this situation your coverage should include some of the following:
  • Specified Perils - provides theft coverage.
  • Comprehensive - provides theft coverage.
  • SEF 20 - provides payment for the car rental necessary until your vehicle is found or paid out
  • SEF 27 - provides payment for the insurance on the car rental
  1. If you do not have this coverage then you will have to pay your costs out-of-pocket. If you do have this coverage you will likely have a deductible. If the vehicle is not found or if has extensive damage when it is found then it could be written off as a total loss. If this does occur then often the deductible is waived.
  2. Usually the SEF 20 is limited to a set amount, often $1000. This coverage will give you a vehicle to use until your vehicle is found. If they do not find your vehicle then after a certain period of time the adjuster will declare it written off. It is a good idea to start looking for a replacement vehicle as soon as you become aware that likely you will not be getting your vehicle back. Once you have been made an offer by the adjuster and accepted such offer you will have to return the rental.
  3. The SEF 27 is also limited to a set amount - usually between $35,000 and $40,000. So you cannot rent the BMW. Most of the rental companies charge $25/day and up for this coverage if you do not have it on your insurance policy.
  4. If your vehicle has been found it is likely damaged. If the damage reaches 70% of the value of the vehicle then it will likely be written off. You can ask about salvage at that point. The insurance company has to determine if the vehicle can be repaired to a road-worthy standard. If so then you might want to accept a percentage of the payout and keep the vehicle. Otherwise once you accept the payout the insurance company owns the vehicle and can salvage it as they please.
  5. You should expect to be treated respectfully and courteously during a claim. If you have any problems you cannot resolve then contact your agent or broker