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What to do if your Car is Stolen

Friday, November 23, 2012
Image Courtesy of Flickr

Having your car stolen can be a devastating experience. It’s important to know what to do in the event your vehicle is stolen so that if that time happens, you will be better prepared to deal with the situation.

Call the Police

As soon as you discover that your vehicle is stolen, you should contact the police agency for the jurisdiction in which the theft occurred. When filing a stolen vehicle report, you’ll need to have as much information as possible about your vehicle. Not only is a thorough description important, but the car’s license plate and VIN numbers are also essential. If you have a few recent pictures of your car, this can also help officers identify the auto if it is later abandoned.

List Personal Property

You’re going to need to file a claim with your auto insurance company. Part of the damages you can be entitled to is the value of any personal property that was inside the vehicle. Once you have this information, you are ready to file an official claim.

Contact your Insurance Company

Obtain a copy of the stolen vehicle report and submit it along with the list of your personal property to your insurance agent. When filing this claim, you’ll want to provide your carrier with as much information as possible in order to help them speed up the claims process. If there are any witnesses to the theft, the names and addresses of these individuals should be provided to the company. You should also provide details about any attempts you have made to recover the stolen vehicle on your own.

Follow Up

Most insurance companies hold onto stolen vehicle claims for a certain amount of time before paying out consumers for their loss. This is because many vehicles are later recovered, which means that a payout is not necessary. During the waiting period, you should follow up regularly with police to see if there are any new developments. Document your follow-up efforts and submit them in a journal-like format to your insurance carrier after the waiting period is over.

Vehicle theft can be less stressful when you take the proper steps. Patience and persistence are important, as an investigation into vehicle theft often takes several months to complete.