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What is average recovery time for stolen vehicles? What is average percent of vehicles recovered after being stolen?


If a stolen car has a tracking device in it, such as LoJack, then the recovery time can short, a few hours in fact. If stolen vehicle does not have a tracking device then if the car is recovered it can be a few days, weeks or even a few months just depending upon if the thief took it for a joy ride or they were stealing it and driving it out of state. We are unaware of any statistics that show the national average recovery time for stolen vehicles.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the number of U.S. motor vehicle thefts decreased by 3.5% from 2005 to 2006 however over one million vehicles have been stolen annually in the United States since 1986. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) around 60 percent of stolen vehicles are found (sometimes with significant damage to them). The average recovery of 60% of stolen vehicles is down from a national average of 80% of cars being recovered back in the 1990s.

Unrecovered autos often wind up in the hands of organized criminals. From there, the vehicle might be:

  • Shipped overseas and sold on the black market
  • Stripped at a chop shop, with its parts sold to crooked body shop operators who then sell the parts or install them on other vehicles
  • Resold to an unsuspecting consumer

The NICB is a not-for-profit organization that receives support from approximately 1,000 property/casualty insurance companies. The NICB partners with insurers and law enforcement agencies to facilitate the identification, detection and prosecution of insurance criminals.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s Uniform Crime Reports, a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States every 26.4 seconds. That is how over 1.2 million vehicles each year that wind up in the hands of thieves. Vehicle theft is the nation's number one property crime, costing an estimated $7.6 billion each year.

From the information received into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) in 2006 the 10 most stolen vehicles were:

  1. 1995 Honda Civic
  2. 1991 Honda Accord
  3. 1989 Toyota Camry
  4. 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup
  5. 2005 Dodge Ram Pickup
  6. 1995 Chevy C/K 1500 pickup
  7. 1994 Nissan Sentra
  8. 1994 Dodge Caravan
  9. 1994 Saturn SL
  10. 1990 Acura Integra

For a stolen car to be covered by their insurer a motorist needs comprehensive coverage on it. This covers damages from the car being stolen; the actual cash value of the car if it is not recovered within a specified amount (or reasonable) of time and usually also covers items like air bags if they are stolen from your vehicle.

Rates for comprehensive insurance coverages are affected by the risk of loss, meaning the likelihood that an insured car will be stolen or damaged and the car's value at the time of the loss. Nationally, more than 75,000 airbags are stolen every year.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), in nine states (Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island) regulations require insurers to provide car owners with discounts on the base rates for comprehensive insurance for anti-theft devices. Other states' insurers may offer discounts for anti-theft devices. The amount of the discount varies but is typically 15 to 20 percent for passive devices, which are automatically activated when the vehicle is locked. A tracking device which helps recovery of a vehicle will usually give you a bigger discount by an insurance carrier.

To get rates for comprehensive coverage and other beneficial auto insurance coverages for your vehicle, click here.


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