What Happens When a Stolen Car is Recovered Before Settlement?

February 5, 2024

If your car is stolen and later recovered during the insurance claim process, your coverage will focus on compensating you for the actual value of your vehicle. If your policy includes “actual cash value” coverage, which is typical for comprehensive policies, the insurer will use an appraisal form to determine your car’s pre-theft market value and settle on a payment that matches this amount. This will be your compensation for the vehicle, and it will include a deductible.

If you are lucky enough to have your car returned, it will undergo a thorough inspection to ensure it has not sustained any damage from its time on the road. If it does have damage, the insurance company will set a new settlement based on its assessment of that damage and any needed repair costs. In some cases, a damaged car will be considered a total loss. This may be a result of irreparable damage or the fact that it was resold to another party after the theft.

Once the insurance company offers its final payout, you become legally obligated to accept it. This means you will give up your right to the stolen vehicle, regardless of whether you want to keep it or not. Some companies will allow you to buy back the vehicle, but they will typically have the right to dispose of it as they see fit – and this could mean selling it or sending it off to a scrap yard.


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