Help! I Think My Car Has Been Stolen
Cars are probably the single most popular target of crime because they are relatively easy to steal. In the time it takes you to brush your teeth, a car is stolen in the United States. We’ve heard many times “my car has been stolen”, to put the brakes on vehicle theft, try the following prevention tips.
How To Prevent Car Theft
Use these tips to reduce your risk:
- Never leave your car running and unattended.
- Never leave your keys in the car or ignition, even inside a locked garage.
- Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your home.
- Always park in a high-traffic, well-lit area, if possible.
- Consider anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks or fuel cut-off switches.
- If you park in a fee garage, take the pay-ticket with you.
- Have your vehicle identification number (VIN) etched into each piece of glass on the vehicle as a deterrent.
- Investigate the purchase of an auto alarm system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle. Display an alarm decal near the door handle.
- If you use valet parking, leave just the ignition key with the attendant.
- Copy your license plate and VIN numbers on a card and keep them on you with your driver’s license. If your vehicle is stolen, police will need this information promptly.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, about one-third of a typical comprehensive auto insurance premium goes to pay for auto theft claims. Installing a mechanical device that locks to the steering wheel, column or brake pedal to prevent the wheel from being turned more than a few degrees can act as a highly visible physical deterrent if installed properly.
My Car Has Been Stolen, What Do I Do?
Because of their value, cars are popular targets for criminals. In fact, on lists of global vehicle theft statistics, you’ll find that the United States consistently ranks near the top. In the event that your car was stolen, you will need to react quickly in order to have a smooth insurance claims process and recover from the loss.
What To Do If Your Car Has Been Stolen
If you suspect your car has been stolen, do the following:
- Call the police. The sooner you notify the proper authorities, the more likely you are to recover your vehicle. You will want to share everything about your car that you can, including its make, model, licence plate number and VIN number.
- Report the stolen car to your insurer. Once you’ve completed a police report, you should contact your car insurance company. You can often file a report using your insurer’s claims hotline. You should also consider contacting your local motor vehicle department, as they typically maintain a database of stolen vehicles.
- Report the theft to your finance or leasing company. If you still owe money to a financing or leasing company, you will want to inform them that your vehicle has been stolen. Often, these companies work directly with insurers following vehicle thefts.
While there’s a chance authorities may recover your stolen vehicle, it’s best to try to prevent thefts altogether. Make sure you always lock your car and take your keys with you. Never keep a spare set of keys hidden in your car or leave the vehicle running unattended. Parking in well-lit areas and hiding valuables that might attract thieves can also be useful.
How Insurance Can Help
The right California auto insurance policy can be invaluable following a vehicle theft. If you have comprehensive coverage on your policy, your insurer can help pay to replace your lost car. Most policies can even provide rental car coverage until your stolen vehicle is recovered or considered lost. For more information on car insurance, contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. today 209-634-2929.