Insurance coverage

With car theft on the rise, check your insurance coverage so you aren’t liable for damages

The Minnesota Insurance Federation says that to make a claim for auto theft, you must have comprehensive insurance.

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minnesota—ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — Home surveillance videos showing thieves stealing vehicles are playing in neighborhoods across the country.

Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be liable for damages.

“When it first happened, we were like, what,” said St. Louis Park resident Ben Muhs. “It’s a violation, that’s what it does.”

Thieves recently broke into Muhs’ girlfriend’s car and took their neighbor’s car across the street. The National Insurance Crime Bureau expects one million vehicles to be stolen in 2022. More than 993,000 were stolen in 2021, up 17% from 2019.

To file a car theft claim, you must have comprehensive insurance, but it is not required in Minnesota. The Minnesota Insurance Federation reports that one in four drivers lack comprehensive insurance.

“And for those people, if you have a car theft or your car is damaged because of that, you’ll have to find a way to pay out of pocket,” the Minnesota Insurance Federation spokesperson said. Mark Kulda.

But what if it’s not your car and only the things inside that have been stolen? Kulda says different franchises can make your decision tricky.

“So while you only have a $500 deductible on your car itself, your property inside the car would be subject to your owner’s deductible, which, let’s say, is a 1% deductible you might have a deductible of several thousand dollars and that might be a problem when you go to make a claim because it might not even be worth making a claim if the deductible is higher than that that you lost,” Kulda said.

The St. Louis Park Police Department has seen an increase in auto thefts. In 2019, officers registered 269 reports. In 2020, this number increased to 508 and 519 in 2021.

It’s also a good lesson to always lock your doors because if you’re at fault too many times, your insurance company might raise your rates or drop you.

“I feel safe, but at the same time it’s like, if,” Muhs said. “I know it’s not just our community.”

The towns of Corcoran and Eden Prairie have also reported a recent spate of car thefts and are reminding people to take your valuables inside, park in well-lit areas, and consider adding a tracking device to your vehicle.

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