December 10, 2010

The Role Of Auto Insurance In Helping To Protect Against Car Theft

Auto insurance is a key player in helping to protect against car theft. There is no such thing as having too much information regarding how to prevent car theft, including built in safeguards that auto insurance policies may encourage or instruct a driver to complete. But also in ensuring that coverage limits are adequate to cover losses in the unfortunate circumstances where an auto theft may have occurred. The only thing more devastating than enduring the theft of an automobile is discovering that auto insurance coverage is not adequate to reimburse for losses due to theft. There are ways to safeguard against this happening by understanding the role of auto insurance in helping to protect against car theft from any angle.

The first step is to ensure that auto insurance coverage is adequate to meet the need for loss reimbursement if a theft should occur. There is no foolproof way to ensure that car theft never occurs. But there is a way to ensure that coverage can meet the need up to replacement of the vehicle should that become necessary. Start with determining car insurance coverage minimums for the state of residence - this is an important foundation to build from to ensure minimum coverage limits are purchased. Next, evaluate the amount left to pay off on the car note, if any. For car owners who still owe more on the car than it is worth, in the event of car theft they may be left with inadequate reimbursement to obtain a replacement vehicle of equal value. Gap coverage is a benefit that will cover the "gap" between what is owed on the stolen vehicle and what is needed to obtain a replacement vehicle of equal value.

Also make sure that the auto insurance policy offers a rental car replacement while the stolen vehicle is repaired or replaced. Not all policies offer this and it will be necessary to avoid significant cost outlays or disruption of daily schedule while the theft is dealt with. Also be sure that in the case of car theft where the car is recovered and needs repairs, ask about how needed repairs are handled. Are replacement parts refurbished or new? How are towing and labor costs handled? What leeway does the insured have to dictate where repair estimates are given and where repairs take place?

Understanding the auto insurance policy inside and out will minimize unnecessary stress should a car theft occur and policy coverage is needed. Taking extra time to understand the details of how a car insurance policy handles auto theft is key to obtaining the full value of the policy premiums paid and ensuring the policy is right for the insured's needs.