auto theft


Protect Yourself Against Auto Theft While Saving On Your Insurance!

Did you know that over 30,000 cars were stolen in Massachusetts last year alone?  That’s a lot of stolen cars and even more of an inconvenience for the victims of theft.  If this were to happen to you, what would you do?  Would you know who to call or if you were even protected against theft in your insurance policy?  The tips and information that follow will set you in the right direction should your car get stolen, and will tell you how to prevent it from being stolen in the first place.

Many people believe that standard liability coverage will protect them should their car get stolen, however this is not the case.  The only coverage that can protect you against auto theft is comprehensive coverage.  This coverage applies to the loss of the vehicle as well as any parts that might be stolen, such as the air bag.  Comprehensive coverage also protects you against fire, vandalism, and weather related damage.

Although comprehensive coverage is not mandatory, it is recommended especially if you have a new or high value car.  In fact, having comprehensive and collision coverage can get you a discount of up to 20%  from your insurance company!  Another way to get a discount?  Having an auto recovery device such as LoJack or OnStar can also get you an anti-theft discount of up to 25%.  These devices allow law enforcement to track your vehicle through a transmitter, which will hopefully lead to it’s recovery.

Of course the best way to protect yourself against auto theft is to take simple steps the make sure your vehicle is not a target.  Definitely don’t leave any valuables in the car, especially if they are visible through the window, this makes you an easy target for car thieves.  Also, try to park in well-lit areas whenever possible, thieves will be less likely to try and break into your car if there is more of a possibility that they will be seen.  Of course locking your doors and setting an alarm are great deterrents as well.

If your car does happen to get stolen, call the police first!  Your insurance company will not process a claim for a stolen vehicle unless there is a police report.  After you call the police, contact your insurance company and let them know what happened.  Make sure to have your policy number ready when you call so that they can easily assist you.

Lastly, if you happen to witness an auto theft, call the Governor’s Auto Theft Strike Force at 1-800-HOT-AUTO.  It is a confidential and toll free auto theft tip line that gives Massachusetts residents the opportunity to combat auto thieves.  If you provide information to this hotline that leads to the arrest of a car thief or the location of a chop shop, you could receive a confidential cash reward of up to $10,000!  That’s a serious benefit for doing some good!  Reporting an auto thief or chop shop makes life easier for everyone, because these theives not only affect the victims of their auto theft, but everyone who lives in that town.  The more theft and accidents that occur in a town, the more expensive the insurance premium will be for every resident of that town.

Car thieves are a problem for all of us, make sure that you are protected under your insurance policy, and if you witness an auto theft in person, call the Governor’s Auto Theft Strike Force, not only could you potentially stop a car thief, but it could lead to a reward!  Sounds like a win-win situation all around!

Photo By: Foxtongue

 

Who's Auto Insurance Covers Me?

Now that you’ve purchased auto insurance, you may be wondering “what exactly does it cover?” Check out the commonly asked questions below to get a better understanding of your auto insurance:

Can I drive a friend’s car?

If you borrow the car with a friends permission, and they insure the vehicle, yes! If you friend has not insured the vehicle make sure your auto insurance has sufficient coverage and you should be good to go.

What if I’m driving a friend’s car and involved in an accident?

The vehicle owner’s insurance is considered the primary auto insurance policy. In other words, is someone else owns and insures a vehicle you are driving, their policy will pay in the event of an accident. However if your friends auto insurance does not have sufficient coverage your auto insurance policy will kick in and cover – up to your policy limits – what is left to pay. For example let’s say you cause $10,000 worth of damage and your friend’s insurance policy will only pay up to $8,000 of the damage. Your auto insurance policy will pay the remaining $2,000 of damage if the charges are within policy limits.

What if I borrow someone’s car with out permission?

If you fall under this category and find yourself pulled over or in an accident you will be facing serious consequences. If you’re pulled over without the vehicle owner’s permission you may be facing criminal charges. If you are involved in an accident while using an auto without permission not only will you be facing criminal charges but paying all damages out of pocket.

Can I borrow my vehicle to someone on a regular basis who does not have insurance?

Unless a person using your vehicle on a regular basis is added to your policy as an occasional driver, chances are they will not be covered. The main idea behind this is for someone who is going to be regularly driving a vehicle to be either added to your policy or purchase one of their own.

What if my car is involved in a hit-and-run?

If your vehicle is involved in a hit-and-run, and you did not do the running, you may be able to collect from your own insurance agency. However only if you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage. If you have this coverage your insurance will pay up to policy limits the amount of damage done to your vehicle. This type of coverage is a key part of any insurance policy involving a hit and run or accidents when other drivers involved are not insured.

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