The shock of realizing your car's been stolen is often replaced with the despair of knowing you're not likely to see your vehicle ever again. However, nearly half of the vehicles stolen in the United States are eventually recovered. But by the time your stolen vehicle is found, you've already gone through the claims process and received compensation for your pilfered ride.
So what happens to your car when it's finally recovered? The following explains how insurance companies deal with this situation.
It Belongs to the Insurance Company
Consider that the insurance company has already paid you the value of the vehicle in its present condition. Chances are you've already put the money towards another vehicle and moved on with your life. In exchange, your insurance provider effectively takes ownership of the stolen vehicle.
This means that if the vehicle is ever recovered, it'll belong to the insurance company. Your insurance provider will decide what to do with the vehicle depending on the state it's found in. In most cases, the insurance company will assign a salvage title to the vehicle and sell it at auction as a way to recoup its losses.
If you have any property that's still in the vehicle when it's recovered, those contents are technically the insurance company's property, as well. Fortunately, most providers are surprisingly flexible when it comes to retrieving personal effects from recovered vehicles, so it doesn't hurt to ask a representative for permission.
You May Be Able to Buy It Back
Let's say you have a strong personal attachment to your vehicle - so much so that you'd do almost anything to get it back if it's ever recovered. If you really want your old car back, your insurance provider may be willing to sell it back to you for a fair price. However, it's likely to come with a salvage title that makes it harder for you to sell on the open market later on.
In some cases, the value of the recovered vehicle may be too low for the insurance company to bother claiming ownership. Under these circumstances, you may get your recovered ride back for free. The only downside is that it may also come with a salvage title, especially if the vehicle was significantly damaged prior to being recovered.
Not every auto insurance provider follows the same protocol when it comes to vehicle recovery. It's a good idea to ask your provider about its policies and to make sure you have the right coverage for your vehicle. Contact an agency, like Manassero Insurance Agency Inc, for more help.