Does Car Insurance Cover a Stolen Car?

Losing your car to thieves is a distressing experience – it also has the potential to leave you nursing substantial losses if you aren’t protected by car theft insurance. We take a look at whether your insurance policy will cover your stolen car, and what to do should your vehicle be stolen.

Does car insurance cover a stolen car?

In many cases, car insurance does cover stolen cars. However, not all policies cover theft, so you need to ensure you choose the right type of car insurance if you want to be covered for a stolen car.

What types of car insurance are there?

Typically, there are three types of car insurance policies:

  • Third-party
  • Third-party Fire & Theft
  • Comprehensive


Third-party car insurance is the most basic form of cover. If you cause an accident, it will cover the damage you cause to other people’s cars or property. Any repairs to your own vehicle will be at your own cost.

Because third-party insurance does not provide protection for your vehicle, it does not provide cover if your car is stolen.

Third-party Fire & Theft

Same as the above, if you cause an accident, you’ll be covered for damage to other people’s vehicles or property, but not your own. However, this policy type does provide cover should your vehicle get stolen or lost to fire.


This provides full cover. If your vehicle is stolen, destroyed in a fire or accident, or gets a window smashed, your insurer will pay for repairs/replacement, minus any excess.

Compare Car Insurance

Should I get a policy that provides stolen car cover?

Having insurance to fall back on should your car get stolen is a good idea. And if you can afford to get a Third-party Fire & Theft policy (at the very least) then it’s probably a good idea to do so.

However, there may be some cases in which you feel it’s not right for you:

  • The car being insured isn’t worth much and;
  • It’s a second/spare car and you have another vehicle to fall back on or;
  • Your day-to-day life won’t be heavily impacted due to the loss of a car, for example, you take public transport to work and live within walking distance of a supermarket, etc.

But, ultimately, it comes down to how much the vehicle is worth to you. Even an old rust bucket could be worth comprehensively insuring if it’s integral to your day-to-day life and/or you couldn’t afford to replace it should something happen.

Compare Outstanding Value Car Insurance with Canstar

Looking for great value car insurance for you and your family? Each year, we release our car insurance awards, including winners for Insurer of the Year, Outstanding Value, and Most Satisfied Customers. As part of our award results, we also publish our Outstanding Value Star Ratings, covering car insurance for different age groups. Below are our top-rated providers in the drivers aged 30-49 category. Click here to view our complete car insurance Star Ratings for all age groups.

Comprehensive Cover: Drivers 30-49:

Provider Star Rating

See here for our ratings methodology. The table above is an abridged version of our research. For the full results of our latest Car Insurance Ratings and Award, click here.

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What to do if your car is stolen

If your car is stolen there are a few important steps you should take:

Check with a towing company!

It may sound a little silly, but before you go and report your vehicle stolen, it pays to double check your car hasn’t just been towed.

Obviously, this won’t be relevant in all scenarios. If your vehicle was parked in your own driveway and there’s now a pile of broken glass where your vehicle once was, it’s pretty obvious what’s happened.

If you do need to look into whether your vehicle has been towed, you can do this by contacting your local council, if you were parked in a public area. Or if you were parked in a private car park, call the number shown on the tow-away warning signs.

If neither option turns up any answers, then call the police.

Notify the police

If the above options haven’t provided any answers, then the police should be able to tell you if your vehicle has been towed. If they still don’t have any record of your vehicle being towed, then, unfortunately, it probably has been stolen.

If so, it’s time to file a report.

This can be done either by calling 105 or visiting the 105 Police Non-Emergency website.

Notify your insurer

Once the police have been notified, and you’ve answered their various questions, you’ll get a file number assigned to your report. This number can then be used to make a claim with your car insurance provider.


Usually, your insurer will wait a little bit to see if your car turns up. Depending on the policy you’ve taken out, you might be able to get a temporary vehicle to use in the meantime.

After a short period, if your vehicle doesn’t turn up, your insurer will begin the process of replacing your vehicle, or paying out the agreed amount.

Or, if your vehicle does turn up, your insurer may provide cover to undertake any necessary repairs.

→Related article: Car Crime: Auckland’s Worst Suburbs

How to deter thieves

Some tips to deter thieves include:

  • If you’ve an older car without an immobiliser or alarm use a steering-wheel lock. In fact, a steering-wheel lock is a good deterrent for modern cars, too. As keyless entry systems can be hacked by tech-savvy car thieves
  • Always ensure your car is locked
  • Try to park in a busy area, with surveillance cameras if possible
  • Park in a secure garage overnight, instead of on the street
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car
  • Don’t leave worthless items in your car that could attract thieves – for example, an empty bag or briefcase

Most commonly stolen cars in NZ

Below you can see the most stolen car models in NZ in the six months to May 25, 2023:

Car Brand/Model No. Stolen
Toyota Hilux 249
Ford Courier 160
Subaru Legacy 112
Holden Commodore 102
Toyota Hiace 96
Toyota Corolla 92
Mazda Atenza 90
Mazda Demio 89
Nissan Navara 85
Subaru Impreza 81
Nissan Tiida 80
Toyota Aqua 71
Mazda Bounty 65
Toyota Landcruiser 65
Suzuki Swift 56

For a more in-depth analysis of the most commonly stolen car types, brands and more, check out our article NZ’s Most Stolen Cars.

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.

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