No one wants their car to be stolen, but unfortunately, this crime happens all too often, especially if you leave your car unlocked when you are not using it. Thankfully, police are more than capable of catching the thief and insurance companies will pay you for any loss that you may have received from the theft. In order to ensure you recover your car as soon as possible or get the money for your car, there are certain steps that you need to take for a stolen vehicle. Follow the five steps in order below to increase your chances of a good outcome.
1. Make a Police Report
As soon as you notice that your vehicle has been stolen, you need to call the police, giving them specific information about your vehicle. Get the records you need of the license plate number on your vehicle, information concerning what exactly your car looks like, any distinguishable features on your car, and even the vehicle identification number if you have it. You could also inform the police if you had a GPS tracking device on your vehicle as this will help the police to find the thief. Give the police the exact time that you noticed the vehicle was missing as well.
2. Call Insurance
After calling the police, you need to call the insurance company as soon as possible, giving many of the same details as above. Your insurer will also want to know if there was anything of value in the vehicle that they need to cover. If you have comprehensive insurance, you will be covered for any lost personal items and to replace the car if it cannot be found. If the thief damaged your vehicle, the damages will also be covered by most comprehensive insurance, but you should double-check your policy information before you make the call. Later, you can make a claim for either the damaged vehicle or the lost vehicle if it is unable to be found.
3. Contact the Bank
If you have a lease or financing on your vehicle, you also need to contact the lender or the bank. The lender can work in tandem with the insurance company to work through the claim to ensure that you are receiving the price that you needed for your damages or the vehicle. Ultimately, they will be the ones who receive the money for the vehicle as technically the title belongs to them.
4. Inspect the Vehicle after Recovery
If the police are able to recover your vehicle, they will go with you somewhere to retrieve it. Take it to a mechanic soon after to get an inspection to see what damages have been done so that you can inform your insurance agency. It is important for the mechanic to check to see if all of the parts are still there as sometimes these are sold by thieves. Your insurance will pay out the cost of replacing any of these parts and of fixing any of the damages that are found, as mentioned above.
5. Start Safety Procedures
Now that you have hopefully recovered your vehicle, it is important that you put some safety procedures in place. Make sure that you lock your vehicle whenever it is unattended so that no one can get into it who is not allowed in it. Bring in any valuables from your vehicle every time you leave it, including your wallet, your jewelry, and anything else you may have in the car. Install an outdoor camera if you need to so that you can always know if someone is trying to break into your car.
It is important that you know that the police will try their hardest to recover your stolen vehicle. Sometimes, however, that is just not possible, with as many as half of car thefts involving a car that is never found. Help out the police by putting the safety procedures above in place and by putting a GPS tracker on your car. This will help to lead the professionals who are in charge of your case right to your vehicle so that your insurance only has to compensate you for the damages.
Author information: Lizzie Howard is a Colorado native who after graduating from the University of Colorado spends her time as a freelance writer. When Lizzie isn’t writing, she enjoys going on hikes, baking for her friends and family, and spending time with her beloved yellow lab, Sparky.