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Gasoline prices have been climbing steadily for weeks. The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline was $4.29 on March 17, 2022, according to AAA. That’s $0.77 more than a month ago and $1.41 from a year ago.
Unfortunately, rising gas prices have come with another unexpected cost for some car owners: there have been news reports from cities across the country of thieves drilling into the fuel tanks of cars to drain gas, leaving owners with an empty tank and expensive repair bills. .
For example, a Central Texas car owner filled his gas tank only to find his fuel gauge empty the next morning. He noticed spilled gas on the floor and found a hole drilled in the fuel tank. A similar situation occurred in Los Angeles. A car owner suspected his car had a gas leak and took it to a local store. When the mechanic put the car on the lift, they discovered that a gas thief had punched a hole in the fuel tank.
A damaged fuel tank can be a costly problem. Replacing a fuel tank can cost between $400 and $1,000 (or more), according to iSeeCars.com, a company that analyzes 10 million used car listings a day to make price calculations.
If a gas thief hits your car, you may be covered by your car insurance policy. Here’s what you need to know.
Car insurance against fuel theft
If a thief damages your car by stealing gasoline, for example by drilling holes in your fuel tank or opening your fuel door, the repairs are covered by the comprehensive insurance part of your car insurance policy, if you have full coverage. Without it, you won’t have coverage for the damage a gas thief causes to your vehicle.
But don’t expect your auto insurance company to reimburse you for stolen gasoline. For example, Allstate does not pay to replace gasoline stolen from the fuel tank, according to an Allstate spokesperson.
Comprehensive insurance also covers other issues, such as auto theft, vandalism, fire, floods, hail, falling objects (like tree branches) and collisions with animals.
The national average cost of comprehensive insurance is $172 per year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Comprehensive coverage is often sold with collision coverage, which helps pay your car repair bills if you crash into something, like a pole or railing. You’re probably required to carry both collision and comprehensive insurance if you have a car loan or lease.
How to file an insurance claim for theft of gasoline
Here’s how to file an insurance claim for theft of gasoline:
- Document the damage. Take photos of any damage to your fuel door or fuel tank.
- Contact the police. Call your local police department to file a report. Your insurance company may require a copy of the police report.
- File an insurance claim. You can call your insurance company, insurance agent, or file a claim online.
If you make a claim for damages related to fuel theft, you will be responsible for the insurance deductible for your full coverage. Auto insurance deductible choices are often $250, $500, $1,000 and more.
For example, if you have a $500 deductible and the cost of replacing a damaged fuel tank is $1,000, you will receive an insurance check for $500 ($1,000 replacement cost – deductible of $500 = $500).
How to protect your car from fuel theft
Here are some ways to protect your car from fuel theft:
- Park your car in a garage or driveway, if possible.
- Park your car in well-lit and well-trafficked places.
- Avoid parking your car in public places for an extended period of time.
- Park your car so that the fuel filler flap is visible from the road.
- Consider installing devices such as a locking gas cap or an anti-siphon device, although these will not stop a thief who pokes a hole in your gas tank.
Best car insurance companies 2022
With so many choices for car insurance companies, it can be difficult to know where to start to find the right car insurance. We’ve rated insurers to find the best car insurance companies, so you don’t have to.