If I can't find my car, can I file an auto insurance claim for it?
I went to an unfamiliar area at night for a party and ended
up being in no condition to drive, so I got a ride home. I went
back to pick up my car but can't remember exactly where I parked
it. I have looked on many nearby streets with no luck. I also
called the police and towing companies, but they have no record of
my car being picked up. At this point, I believe it has been
stolen. What should I do?
You should file a claim with your insurance company. They may not
accept it, but you've made a good-faith effort to make sure the car
isn't simply lost.
We've all seen people using their car key's panic button in a
crowded parking lot to find their car, so forgetting where you've
parked isn't unusual. Not finding your car at all is unusual,
but it does happen.
A German man was recently
reunited with his vehicle
two years after he reported it missing. It was found three
miles from where he thought he parked it. It was determined
that the car wasn't stolen since it was locked and still contained
tools worth over $50,000. A British man also had his car
found after two years. It was in the parking garage next to
garage where he thought he had parked.
We're glad you made the right choice and found a ride home
instead of operating your vehicle and putting yourself at risk for
causing an accident
or being cited for
driving under the influence
. If you're still unable to find your vehicle, then you
can file a claim with your car insurance company -- but it will be
up to their guidelines if the claim will be accepted.
Is an empty parking space proof of theft?
In time your car may be found where you parked it -- or it may
have been stolen as you suspect. It sounds as if you've done
your due diligence by looking for your car and calling to see if it
were impounded. So, if you truly think it has been stolen,
then you should report it to the police. Your car insurance
company will require a police report for a stolen car claim.
file a claim
for your missing vehicle you need to have comprehensive insurance
coverage as part of your car insurance policy. If you only
have state-minimum liability coverage, then you're unable to make a
Once the claim is made, your insurance company will determine
if, according to the terms of your policy and their internal rules,
this situation can be categorized as covered peril (stolen
Speaking to a couple of different car insurance providers, we
received different answers about this type of claim.
One insurer that said with a police report you could file a
comprehensive claim. This adjuster said after a very thorough
investigation (don't be surprised if they ask for your phone
records and other personal documents) a final determination would
be made on if an insured would be paid out for a stolen
vehicle. (See "Why you're a suspect in your own car
The other auto insurance carrier said that, in this type of
case, there is no proof that you have a loss, so it normally
wouldn't accept your claim. This auto insurance company said
it would consider forgetting where you parked to be gross
negligence on your part, which would negate your coverages under
the terms of its car insurance policies.
Since guidelines and policy terms vary greatly from one car
insurance company to another, you will have to discuss your
situation and potential stolen car claim with your auto
Keep in mind that if your claim is accepted then as part of your
settlement you'll have to sign over the title of the car to your
insurer. This means once you've been paid out actual cash value for
your vehicle (less your comprehensive deductible amount) if the car
is later recovered, it will be the property of your car insurance