No, liability insurance does not cover a stolen car. Liability insurance covers damage that you cause to other people or their property in an auto accident that’s your fault, but it does not cover damage caused by a car if it’s involved in an accident after being stolen. However, if you want to make sure your car is protected in the event it’s stolen, comprehensive coverage will pay to repair or replace a car that’s damaged or unrecovered because of theft.
Also, the owner of a stolen car won’t be responsible for damage caused by their car if it’s taken without their permission. Common law in the U.S. states that an owner of a stolen car won’t be held liable for any property damage or injuries caused by an accident that the stolen vehicle was involved in.
Liability-only insurance is car insurance that pays for other people’s injuries or damage to other people’s property, but not the policyholder’s injuries or property. The term “liability-only car insurance” is used to distinguish policies with basic coverage from those with collision insurance and comprehensive coverage.
Repairs to/replacement of items in the car during an accident
Repairs to/replacement of other property, like a mailbox, fence, or house
Liability-only insurance is the least expensive car insurance since it provides such minimal coverage. However, driving with only liability insurance can lead to expensive bills for your own property or injuries.
You need enough liability insurance to cover the full value of your assets. Your bodily injury liability coverage should be as much as your net worth, while your property damage liability insurance can be slightly lower since property damage claims are usually less expensive. Purchasing enough liability insurance to cover the value of your assets protects you from financial ruin if you cause a serious car accident.… read full answer
When to Carry Only the Minimum Liability Coverage
Although almost every state requires drivers to carry liability insurance, the minimum coverage is not always enough to cover the cost of an accident. It’s always best to carry as much liability coverage as you can afford, especially if you have a high net worth.
If you don’t have many assets or think the risk is worth it, you might be comfortable with carrying only the minimum coverage. But no matter what, make sure you’re carrying enough insurance to comply with state law and avoid paying fines for driving uninsured.
Liability Limits on Auto Insurance
Liability limits on auto insurance are the maximum amount that your insurance company will pay for injuries and property damage in accidents that you cause. Liability limits are typically written as three numbers divided by slashes.
For example, Arizona’s liability coverage requirements are 50/30/10. That means drivers need to carry $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage overall.
Why You Need More Liability Insurance Than the State Minimum
Your insurance company will never pay for anything beyond the limits of your policy. Using the Arizona example, if you cause an accident that leads to $70,000 in medical bills for the other driver, you will have to pay for $40,000 if you are only carrying the minimum insurance required. And if you can’t afford to pay the full amount, the other driver can sue, and you can have your assets seized or wages garnished to cover the remainder.
No, car insurance does not cover theft of personal items that are left in your car. Property like your phone, laptop, and other valuables that might be stolen from your vehicle should be listed on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy because they will not be covered by your car insurance.… read full answer
If your vehicle or any of its standard parts are stolen or vandalized, comprehensive car insurance coverage will help pay for the damage to your car and can even replace it in a total-loss situation. Comprehensive insurance only covers permanent, pre-installed features of the car, though—not personal items that may be destroyed or stolen from inside the car.
How Theft Is Covered by Car Insurance
For example, let’s say someone breaks a window to get into your car, breaks open the lock to your glovebox, and steals your smartphone from inside. Comprehensive coverage will pay for your glass claim and any repairs to the car’s interior, like fixing the broken lock and any other damage to the glovebox. But you must have had your phone insured on your homeowner’s policy and file a claim there to recover the cost of replacing the stolen phone.
Remember, comprehensive car insurance usually has a deductible, so you will likely still have to pay some money out of pocket. If you have liability-only coverage, your policy will not cover theft or vandalism at all.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. This question was posted by WalletHub.
Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.