What Happens When a Stolen Car Is Recovered?

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When the police recover a stolen car, it normally has damage from the thieves breaking into it, reckless driving or removal of anything of value, which the insurance company evaluates to determine if the car is a total loss. If its repair is feasible and the owner has comprehensive coverage, insurance typically pays to restore its previous condition.

Approximately 30 percent of stolen vehicles never surface again, according to The Motley Fool. Damage on recovered cars often includes broken glass, a busted steering column and scratches or dents. Thieves commonly remove the car’s sound system and other easy-to-sell parts. While auto insurance covers these damages, it does not cover personal possessions lost in the vehicle, or the amount of the insurance deductible. While a homeowner’s policy or rental insurance covers these possessions, there is often a deductible with this policy as well. If both policies are with the same company, some victims find the insurance company willing to waive the smaller deductible amount.

If the insurance company pays the claim before the recovery, the company takes possession of the car. In some of these cases, the owner is able to recover personal possessions left inside. It is sometimes possible to buy the vehicle back from the insurance company if law enforcement locates it after a settlement.