What Happens When Your Stolen Car Is Found After Insurance Has Paid For It? (Find Out!)

Stolen Car Is Found After Insurance Has Paid For It

If the car is found after your insurance company has paid for it they become the legal owners of the vehicle, and they are obligated to collect it. Usually, a salvage crew is sent by the insurance company to collect the car if it is recovered after payment has been made.

Assuming your insurance policy is a comprehensive one it is safe to assume that your car is insured against robbery and theft. 

This implies that if your car is stolen, your insurance provider would pay you enough money to purchase a new car. Some companies can even afford to pay for a “courtesy” car in the meantime.

All seems well, you have made a claim on your insurance provider that was successfully paid out and now you’re back on the road with a new car. But the story doesn’t end here.

My Stolen Car Was Recovered What’s Next

My Stolen Car Was Recovered Whats Next

In most cases, the insurance company becomes the owner of the original property. Once the car is found and you are aware it is your duty to inform your insurance provider. 

Your discussions with the company will clarify matters such as how the car will be delivered to the company and whether you have the option of buying it back from the company.

The normal procedure is that the insurance company will send a salvage team to collect the vehicle. The company is legally responsible for claiming the car.

This means that if they request you to make payments for its transportation you have the right to refuse.

There are cases where the insurance company will discover that the value of the car and its overall condition is not worth the effort to recover it. In such cases, they will allow you to retain ownership of the car. 

The final area we’d discuss is items of value in the car. Some people have important items in their car, whether valuable or sentimental. 

If you have claimed those items then they belong to the company as well. This is assumed on the basis that they paid for the car and the items in it when stolen.

If you wish to recover them then you will have to discuss them with one of the insurance representatives. In many cases, such scenarios do not cause any issues and the representatives are willing to return these items. They are human after all.

In a more realistic setting, auto insurance does not cover personal items inside the vehicle. Renters/homeowners insurance policies protect stolen items in a vehicle. 

On this note, once a stolen car is retrieved after a payment from your insurance company, only the car belongs to them, the items are still yours.

What To Do When Your Car Is Stolen

According to Statista, 56.1% of 721,885 cases of stolen cars are recovered in the US alone. Your insurance company does not compensate you with the amount you used in buying your car, but rather with the value of the car.

That means you would be paid the amount you will get for selling off your car at the current market price. In addition to this, the amount is minus any excess you may have. The excess, like a deductible, is an amount you have to pay towards the new car before your insurance provider steps in.

It is possible that the original car is far more valuable than what the insurance company can payout. 

However, it is not advisable to assume that you will be part of the lucky ones in the 56.1% whose cars are recovered after the robbery. 

On this note, we will advise you to notify your local police and your insurance company when your car is stolen. 

Doing so will exempt you from any crimes that are committed with your vehicle when it is no longer in your possession. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Refuse To Take Back Your Recovered Stolen Car?

This depends on the situation surrounding your vehicle. If the car is totaled, your insurance policy may allow you to refuse the car. After all, the company cannot force a salvaged vehicle on you.

However, if the car only sustained minor damages it is most likely that the company will not give you a new vehicle.

If your insurance claims have already been paid out then the car is no longer yours. All you can do here is notify the company that the car has been found and they will recover it.

My Stolen Car Was Involved In An Accident, Am I Liable To Damages?

Life is a funny place where nothing is impossible. Imagine your stolen car was found in an accident scene where other people’s property is damaged. Are you held liable for such damages?

The answer is no. Even if the suspect is not found, you cannot be held liable for such damages. Moreover, the insurance company is legally obligated to defend the claim against you.

The only hitch is that the police and other law enforcement agencies may require proof that you were not the driver who caused the accident. It is your car after all.

You can only enjoy such a benefit if you report the car stolen when it occurs. If you failed to report the car stolen to the police and have no insurance it will be difficult to prove your innocence in such a situation.

In such a scenario you are fully liable for any damages to people’s properties caused by your car.


Having your car stolen is an overwhelming event that could destabilize you if not planned for. Fortunately, with a good insurance plan, your car can be replaced if such an event takes place.

When your car is stolen you are required to inform the police and your insurance company about it. Likewise, if the car is found.

Usually, one of two things will happen:

1. The company will take over the original property

2. The company will let you keep the original property because it is not worth their while

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