Carnell Eugene Butler, 18, of St. Petersburg, has managed to steal at least two cars from the Placido Bayou neighborhood this month. This first car he stole was an Infiniti that police found on October 4th with his personal items contained inside, including a packet of court papers bearing his name. Apparently, Butler was on probation for a former car theft charge in June.
Due to these circumstances, investigators left a message for Butler to come into the local station and pick up some items from a previous arrest. Butler went to the station and was detained for the stolen vehicle. Then, while he was searched, the investigators found Hyundai Sonata keys that were to a car reported stolen that day. The officers found the Sonata a block away and added that charge to the ticket. Upon his detainment, the police searched his home and found a stolen bicycle. So in total, Butler faces two counts of grand theft of a motor vehicle, violation of probation and two counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling .
While this problem was resolved, cars in the Tampa Bay community are stolen at a rate of 553 per year . The positive detail about this number is that it is below the national average. Nevertheless, it is still occurring and many people do not know if they are covered under their policy when it comes to such a crime. Thus, whether an auto insurance carrier will reimburse you if your car is stolen depends upon your policy and the type of auto insurance you have.
Insurance that Covers Stolen Vehicles
Depending on the type of coverage you have will determine whether or not you are covered for a stolen vehicle. Most comprehensive coverage policies will cover you if your car is stolen. These types of policies usually protect you and your car against problems not caused by collisions such as left, vandalism and breakdowns. There are exceptions to every policy, but generally, this type of insurance includes losses from fire, earthquake, explosions, falling or flying objects, floods, riots and breakage of glass, as well as damage to your car caused by hitting an animal and theft.
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With comprehensive coverage, your auto insurance provider will likely tell you to wait an explicit amount of days before any compensation. If the car isn’t found within that time frame, you will be reimbursed for the market value of the car. If the car is found, but damaged, you will be paid the repair costs, less any applicable deductible.
If there are things that were stolen from your vehicle, the only things that are covered will be items that are meant to be a permanent part of the car or that can’t function without the car such as a factory-installed navigation system or stereo. However, if items were stolen that were not a part of the car, such as a, iPhone or GPS, it will not be covered by this insurance. These items could be covered by personal property coverage or homeowners or renters insurance.
Many comprehensive coverage polices will also help pay for a rental car. You are required to wait two days until the coverage kicks in, however, most rental companies will waive the 48-hour requirement .
What if My Car is Stolen and in an Accident?
The owner of a vehicle has certain responsibilities during normal, daily situations as well as during the event in which your vehicle was stolen. The Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine is a doctrine specific to Florida that states, as the owner of a vehicle, you have the responsibility to make responsible and safe decisions about your car, the dangerous instrument and are liable for damages if you don’t make such decisions. Knowing your liability, insurance policy, and how to keep your vehicle safe are all ways which you can protect yourself.
If you lend out your car and it’s in an accident, you are responsible for the damages. If your car is stolen, your liability is waived because there was no permission granted for such an event. This is where the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine no longer impedes on responsibility. Therefore, if it was in an accident while it was stolen, you are not liable .
Having your car stolen can be a very stressful time. Going over your insurance policy before any such event can happen would be beneficial so that you know what is covered. By having insurance that covers theft and any damages that come with it, this stressful time can be compensated so you can move on. By understanding the information given and using your resources, you can keep your car safe for the future.
It’s also good to be smart about what circumstances you leave your car in. The two cars that were stolen by Carnell Eugene Butler were unlocked with the keys in the car. Even if you are just running inside to pick up your wallet or coffee you left in the kitchen, make sure you turn off your car and take your keys inside after you lock it up. It’s only a few seconds added on to your time and a lot of time and money saved from an unforeseeable event.
Continually, it’s also good to be smart about where you park. Try to avoid areas that aren’t well lit or areas that are high on vehicle left and/or crime. It’s also noteworthy to explain the importance of parking your car in your garage. It may seem silly to go over the safety of doing so, but in any case, many people do not use the space to protect their car from public access. If you pay for the convenience, use it.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
In any event that involves auto accidents or insurance coverage issues, it is always smart to contact your personal injury attorney to go over the details of the case. Here at Dolman Law, we understand the realities facing the Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg and Clearwater community. We have dealt with insurance claims that were wrongfully denied and the costs associated with car accidents. Don’t let thieves get away for the damages that you conceived from having your car stolen.
Cars are just material objects that transfer you from one place to another. Nonetheless, when they are stolen, the time and money needed to cover such a cost may be compensated with the right attorney. Let the lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA help you in your time of need. You may call us to schedule a free consultation and evaluation today at (727) 451-6900.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765
 Car thief nabbed for second time, St. Petersburg police say
 LIABILITY OF THE COMMERCIAL DRIVER: NEGLIGENT HIRING MEETS THE DANGEROUS INSTRUMENTALITY DOCTRINE