You’re at work one day when you get a call from your spouse. They’re frantic, and they’re telling you that your car has been stolen. You can’t believe it. You park in a well-lit, busy area every day, but somehow your car has been taken. Now what?
It can be a very stressful and upsetting experience to have your car stolen, but there are some things you can do to make the process of getting your car back a little easier. Here are five steps to take if your car is ever stolen:
Step 1: Confirm the Vehicle Has Been Stolen
The first thing you need to do is to ensure that your car has actually been stolen. This may seem like a silly step, but it’s important to rule out the possibility that another family member borrowed the vehicle.
If you tend to share car keys with other people in your household, keeping a record of who has the keys is a good idea. That way, if the car does go missing, you’ll have a better idea of who may have taken it.
If you’re positive that the vehicle has been stolen, proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Contact Your Insurance Provider
Does car insurance cover a stolen car?If you live in a high-crime area, the chances are that your car insurance policy includes theft protection. If this is the case, you should contact your insurance company immediately after your car has been stolen.
Your insurance company will likely ask for a copy of the police report and any other documentation that you have (e.g., the VIN).
They will then start the process of reimbursing you for your stolen car. However, don’t expect to get reimbursed overnight. Your insurance provider has to conduct their investigation, which can take weeks or even months. Therefore, it may be best to consider hiring a rental car in the meantime.
However, note that the type of insurance you have will determine how much you are reimbursed. For example, if you have comprehensive insurance, you will be reimbursed for the total value of your car.
On the other hand, if you only have liability insurance, you will only be reimbursed for any damage incurred to the other party.
In any case, contacting your insurance provider as soon as possible after your car has beenstolen is essential tounderstand what coverage you have and what steps you need to take.
Step 3: Call the Police
When you come to terms with the fact that your car has been stolen, your first instinct may be to call the police. And you should. The police can help you file a report and may have additional resources for finding your car. Therefore, the sooner you contact them, the better.
The police want to know as much information as possible about your car, such as the make, model, and license plate number. They will also ask you when and where you last saw the vehicle and which belongings you had in the car when it was stolen. Be prepared to answer these questions truthfully and accurately.
If you have a GPS tracking device installed in your vehicle, you should share the login details with the police. They may be able to track down your car using GPS data.
Alternatively, share the vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number) with the police. They can use this to run a search and see if there have been any recent sightings of your car.
Once you’ve shared all the details about your car and the theft, ask the police for a report. You’ll need a police report to make an insurance claim.
At this point, resist any urge to retrieve the vehicle yourself. It’s best to let the police handle it.
Step 4: Use Social Media to Your Advantage
While you shouldn’t try to retrieve the vehicle yourself, you can use social media to your advantage.
If you have a general idea of where your car might be, post about it on community forums or Facebook groups dedicated to stolen vehicles in your area.
You never know who might have seen something or have information that could help the police recover your car.
Step 5: Avoid Panicking and Followup Often
Feeling overwhelmed after your car has been stolen is easy, but avoiding panicking is essential.
Follow up with your insurance company and the police and update them on any new information or leads you may have.
The more you communicate with them, the greater the chance of getting your car back. Furthermore, don’t give up hope. Many cars are recovered days, weeks, or even months after they’ve been stolen.
While having your car stolen is a terrible experience, you can take steps to increase the chances of getting it back. Following the tips above and staying calm will give yourself the best chance of recovering your stolen car.
Most importantly, be patient. The process of recovering a stolen car can be long and frustrating, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Many people have gone through the same thing and come out the other side. With a bit of luck, you’ll be one of them.
Do you have any other tips for recovering a stolen car? Share them in the comments below.