My Car Was Stolen: Now What?
A vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds in the U.S. and only 54 percent are recovered. Discovering your car was stolen is traumatic, but knowing what to do next can help lessen your stress and get the insurance process started as soon as possible.
Here are the three key steps you should take if your car is stolen.
Step 1. Confirm your car was stolen.
In addition to the possibility that your car has been stolen, there are a few other common reasons why your car might not be where you left it. Before you alert police:
- Check for “No Parking” signs.
Make sure there is no possibility that your car has been legally towed as a result of parking in a zone where parking isn’t allowed.
- Search the area thoroughly.
Sometimes, when parking in an expansive lot or in a city we’re unfamiliar with, we think we know where we’ve parked, but we’re mistaken. Before you call the police, check the surrounding area in case you parked in a spot other than the one you remember.
- Check with other drivers.
You’ll want to rule out the possibility that another driver borrowed your car and neglected to tell you. If anyone else has a key to your car, find out if they are driving it before contacting law enforcement.
- Confirm it hasn’t been repossessed.
One of the first questions a police officer will ask is if your car payments are up to date. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for drivers to think their car was stolen, when in actuality it was repossessed because the driver hasn’t made their car payments.
Step 2. File a police report.
The moment you confirm your car was stolen, call the police. Alerting the police immediately could increase the chance your car will be found because the thief may still be in the area. Plus, you can’t file an insurance claim without a police report.
Step 3. Call your insurance company.
After you’ve alerted the police, call your insurance company immediately and tell them your car was stolen. Doing so not only helps solidify your claim, it also protects you should the thief cause damage to a vehicle or a person while driving your car. Before you hang up with your car insurance company, confirm your claim was filed.
How to Prevent Auto Theft
According to the FBI, roughly 700,000 auto thefts occur each year in the U.S. That means approximately 230 vehicles are stolen per 100,000 residents. The good news, nearly half of all vehicle thefts are due to driver error. Reduce the chance your car will be stolen by keeping these simple tips in mind.
- Never leave the keys in the ignition; it only takes a few seconds for someone to steal your car.
- Close and lock all windows and doors whenever you park your car, even if it’s in your garage.
- Keep windows and doors locked while you’re driving to help reduce the possibility of a car-jacking, which is when someone steals your car while you’re behind the wheel.
- Always park your vehicle in well-lit areas. If you’re parking in a parking garage, park your car as close to the security or ticket booth as possible. At home, park your car near a flood light or motion active light.
- Keep valuables out of sight. For example, lock your purse, laptop or other valuable item in the truck where it can’t be seen. Better yet, don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.
It’s important you know how your car insurance company handles vehicle theft so you know protocol if you ever fall victim of car theft. Look over your car insurance policy today, and if you aren’t satisfied, give us a call. Obrella agents have the experience and resources to find you a car insurance policy that will cover you, even if your car is stolen. (For more information, read our “Understanding Auto Insurance Coverage For Car Theft: What You Need To Know“).
Before making any final decisions on your insurance company, it is important to learn as much as you can about your local insurance providers, and the coverages they offer. Call your local insurance agent to clear up any questions that you might have. Questions to consider asking include, “What is the best coverage plan for me/my family/my situation?” “What are the minimum coverage requirements in my state and what form of coverage do you recommend?” “Do you guys offer any bundle discounts if I take out both my auto insurance and home insurance with you?” and “What is the average rate of insurance quotes you guys offer?
Before making any big insurance decisions, use our free tool to compare insurance quotes near you. It’s simple, just plug in your zip code and we’ll do the rest!