It still remember when the police told me that they had recovered my stolen car (my Dodge Caravan). I was sitting in my front porch with my family when the police stopped in front of my house and two officers got off and asked to talk to me over the gate. They asked me if I knew where the car was, and I said it was parked in Riverside, CA.
When they looked at each other, I knew what had happened and my stomach turned a little bit. My car had been stolen and they were visiting me out of courtesy to let me know.
When I got a call from the police officer on site, he asked me if I wanted to go pick it up because it couldn’t stay on the street. I thought that the car was in good working condition but apparently I did not hear the officer when he told me that it had no tires.
When I pulled up to the street where the car was, I was shocked to see the car on bricks and tipped to the side because a stack of bricks had toppled over. The thieves did not even do a good job on that. That’s when I considered, after my car is recovered, do I have to take it back? What if it’s too beat up?
Can you refuse to take stolen car back?
If you are the owner of the vehicle, you will be held responsible for your car since it cannot be left on the side of a highway or in an alley somewhere. The police will have the car towed to a lot where you will be charged per day it stays in there (up to the maximum timeframe allowed by your state).
Of course, if your insurance company covers total theft, you and your insurer must discuss what will happen to the vehicle, but if it is cheaper to fix the car than to replace the vehicle, the insurer will opt to have it fixed instead.
It really is a big mess when these things happen because you have to pay tow fees, storage fees, repair for the damages, the cost of replacing things that got taken from the car, plus let us not forget about the huge amount of time this takes. You cannot simply tell the lot where your car is that you are not taking the car back, or to have them dispose of it because you are still responsible for it.
What do you do when your car is stolen and recovered?
There are a couple of scenarios where this plays out differently.
- If your car was recovered in good driveable conditions, you just retrieve it and go back to normal. You simply get to take your car home and call up your insurance to let them know.
- If your car was recovered but it was towed away to a lot, you will have to pay the tow fees and the storage fees in order to get it back. This is what sucks about recovering the car: it usually stays hostage in the storage lot until you fork up the money to get it back. Don’t want your car anymore? Too bad! The lot still charges you the storage place, and they might even decide to add a disposal fee if they agree to take the car off your hands.
- What if your car is recovered after receiving your claim money? If you are paying a lease on the car, your insurance already gave you money for your claim, and THEN it was recovered, then you have to speak with your insurance company about what to do next because I’m pretty sure you would be double-dipping into the benefits and you might be committing insurance fraud without knowing it.
Can I buy back my stolen car?
Here is an interesting case that I read regarding buying your stolen car back: so a man got his car stolen from his home and received his claim check three weeks later and purchased a replacement, only to get a notification that the car had been recovered six weeks later. The thing is, he wanted to buy the stolen car back since it had no damage and it was in good working condition.
After calling his insurance company, he found out that the insurance would not allow that to happen through them, but that he could definitely track down the car to find out how it was going to be resold. It turned out that it was going to be auctioned off. I’m not sure if he purchased it or not, but the insurance company was actually able to help out tracking down the place where it would be auctioned.
The recovered car would most likely have a stolen mark on the car’s record though.
How does buying a stolen and recovered affect insurance?
Cars that are recovered are called recovered theft cars, and some states will title them as a salvage car. These cars have typically been stolen, stripped, resold, used to deal drugs in, or found completely fine. The title has won’t differentiate that though, so it can be a bit of a guessing game.
There are several states where your car has to be retitled in order to be able to drive it on the road. There’s a whole process for it that requires an inspection and probably several trips to the DMV in order to get it settled.
Does insurance go up if your car gets jacked? Not all the time, but it is likely through indirect reasons. For example, when you’re getting a quote for insurance, a company might look for the areas where you are typically driving. If those neighborhoods are sketchy, the insurance rates might reflect that or it might affect at how the insurance company views you as a driver.
Cautious drivers might park their cars in locked gates or secure them better, but if you’re on a losing streak quite often, it might show the insurance company that you aren’t very careful about where you leave your car (or how you secure it), and sadly this can affect your rates.