So, Your Car Was Stolen—Now What?
Dan Levenson December 21, 2017
It’s any car owner’s worst nightmare: you get to your parking spot and find that your car has been stolen! Unfortunately, vehicle theft happens more often than you might think, with a theft occurring in the United States about once every minute.
If you’ve discovered that your car has been stolen, your first instinct may be to panic. And while that urge is perfectly understandable, it’s important that you compose yourself and take the necessary steps to document your vehicle theft with the police and report the incident to your auto insurance company.
The sooner you act, the sooner you can get back behind the wheel.
File a Police Report
The first step you need to take is to call your local police department to report the theft. This serves two purposes. First, the police department will be able to provide you with a stolen vehicle report, which your insurance company will ask for when you go to make your claim.
Furthermore, notifying the police of your vehicle will allow local patrol officers to keep an eye out for it. While not always likely, there is always a chance that police could recover your vehicle!
Contact Your Insurance Company ASAP
Next, you need to contact your auto insurance company to report the theft to them. Most auto insurance companies these days allow you to submit claims online or over the phone 24 hours a day.
It’s important that you notify your insurance company that your car was stolen even if you don’t have comprehensive coverage that covers vehicle theft, as you’ll still want to make sure you’re protected in the event that the person who stole your vehicle causes damage to other property with your car.
Filing Your Claim: What You’ll Need
Another important part of letting your insurance company know about the theft is officially filing your insurance claim. The specific documentation required to file a claim can vary from one insurance carrier to the next, but there are a few things you will probably have to provide in order to make your claim.
For starters, you’ll definitely need a copy of your vehicle title, as well as a copy of your police report. A detailed description of your vehicle will also be collected by your insurance agent; this may include details on:
- Your vehicle’s approximate mileage at the time of the theft
- Recent service records or proof of upgrades
- Verification of make, model, and year
If there was any personal property in your vehicle at the time of the theft, you may also be asked to submit an itemized list.
Understanding Insurance Coverage for Theft
If your vehicle has been stolen, hopefully you have comprehensive coverage in place that covers theft; the right coverage will provide reimbursement for a replacement vehicle that is worth at least as much as the current market value of your car. Keep in mind that this will likely not be the price you paid for the car when you bought it, as depreciation will need to be factored in.
Depending on your coverage, you may also be entitled to a temporary replacement in the form of a rental vehicle until your claim is approved and you can purchase a permanent replacement. This is great coverage to have, as the claims process for a stolen vehicle can take some time.
Experiencing a vehicle theft can be a scary, unnerving thing; however, with the right coverage and by taking the right steps immediately after the theft, you can get through this difficult time and get back on the road.
For more information on insurance coverage for auto theft or to make sure you’re properly covered, contact us today.