My car was stolen. That may not be an unusual occurrence, given that millions of cars are stolen every year, at least one every minute of the day. However, it can be a confusing and traumatic event for every victim. The next question for most is: what should I do?
Here are some things you can do upon suspecting or finding out that your car was stolen.
Verify that the Car Was Stolen
Before you call the police, make sure you didn’t park it and forget where you put it. Verify that your partner, your child or your roommate didn’t take the vehicle. Once you know that it wasn’t taken or misplaced, then you’ll need to act.
Call the Police
Calling the police is essential for several reasons. You need the police report in the system for them to be able to prosecute the person who took it without permission. Your insurance company requires the police report to pay for any damages the illicit driver causes or pay for replacing your car. If someone is pulled over driving your vehicle, police will know that the car is yours, not the driver’s, and stop the thief. And if the police towed your car for some reason, reporting the vehicle stolen will lead to them contacting you. For example, the car may have been abandoned on the side of the road by a thief or put in impound because it was illegally parked. If you have a car with built-in GPS, a common feature in infotainment systems, the police can activate the tracking feature and find out where the car is. It may be found sitting in a lot next to a repair shop, about to be stripped for parts.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Many insurers won’t do anything without the police report, which is why we mentioned calling the police first. When you call the insurance company, give them as much information as you can. This includes but not limited to the police report number. Where was the car when it vanished? What was the car’s condition? At this point, the insurer will discuss the type of insurance coverage you have and what it covers in your case. It may only pay for damage to the vehicle if it is found… or you may be able to get the insurance company to pay for a rental car while the police search for your vehicle.
However, it is important to note that even when you only have liability insurance, you still need to contact the insurer. Otherwise, you may be held liable if the thief gets in a wreck in your vehicle. If your car has been stolen or broken into in the past, conducting a search on car insurance near me can help you find an insurance policy that completely covers you in case this was to happen again. Unfortunately, you can’t upgrade your insurance now to cover the events that just happened.
Notify Your Lender
If your car is leased or you are making car payments against the loan, the next step is informing the financing or lending company. In a few cases, the leasing company may be able to provide a loaner vehicle at no extra charge. They may or may not suspend the requirement that you make payments, but they may have insurance policies of their own forgiving the loan if the car is found wrecked on the side of the road. If your insurer covers the replacement cost of the vehicle, you’ll need to work with the lender to either pay off the loan or secure a new vehicle. If the insurer only pays for part of the cost of the vehicle, you’ll need to work with the lender to pay off the remaining loan balance.
While the theft of your vehicle is a serious problem, understand that there are processes in place to handle the problem because it is so common. Then you can take steps to prevent your next vehicle from being stolen.