What Should I Do if My Car is Stolen?
The idea of someone stealing your car is worrying at best. It is your form of transportation to work, school, etc. and you often have important items inside your vehicle such as your wallet and proof of insurance. If your vehicle is stolen, it is crucial to know what to do and what steps to take in order to recover.
Confirm it is Missing
This may seem silly, but people misplace their vehicles often, especially when they park in a large parking lot such as after a sporting event or concert. If you have your keys, you may have simply misjudged where you parked. Ask a security officer (if you’re in a public place) to help you find your vehicle or set off the alarm with your keys.
Call the Police
Once you have confirmed your vehicle is missing, call authorities. You will want to file a report for your missing vehicle as soon as possible so that an investigation can start to find it and the culprit. In the best case, you may be able to find and retrieve your vehicle undamaged. Unfortunately, there may be times where you won’t be able to find the stolen vehicle. Either way, filing a report is important so that authorities know to keep an eye out for your vehicle and the thief.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Your auto insurance provider should be notified as soon as possible that your vehicle has been stolen. This is for several reasons. First, if the thief causes an accident or damages the vehicle in any way, your insurance provider should know that it was not you driving the vehicle. Second, notifying your insurance agent ahead of time can help when it comes time to file a claim for the stolen vehicle. If your vehicle is stolen, you can file a claim with your auto insurance provider to receive compensation.
Keep in mind that this only works if you have comprehensive coverage, however, which covers loss of or damage to your vehicle caused by fire, wind, hail, lightning, smoke, theft, vandalism and more. If you have basic liability and nothing else on your vehicle, you may not be covered if the vehicle is stolen.
Notify Your Dealership
If you are still paying off your vehicle, you won’t want to keep paying for a vehicle you are no longer using. Notify the dealership with whom you purchased your vehicle. They can freeze your account so that you no longer have to pay for a vehicle someone else is unlawfully operating.
File a Claim
If nothing arises from the investigation to find your vehicle, it may be time to file a claim with your insurer. A claim can allow you to receive compensation for the value or partial value of the stolen vehicle, which can help you purchase another vehicle or at least recover from the loss.
Compensation will be calculated by a claims adjuster from the insurer based on your policy limits and the incident itself.
What Happens if My Car is Found After I File a Claim?
Say that your vehicle has been missing for two months with nothing coming from the investigation by police, so you decide to file a claim with your insurer. You receive compensation but a month later, your vehicle is discovered. What happens now?
Since your losses have been rectified—as in, your stolen vehicle has been recovered—you may have to pay back the compensation you received from your insurer. Rules may vary between insurer, but you typically have to return the compensation you received if your losses are recovered.
Be sure to speak with your insurer before filing a claim or receiving compensation about the possibility of your vehicle being discovered. Be sure to remain open and honest about the status of your vehicle. If you fail to notify your insurer after your vehicle is discovered and you are caught, your auto insurance policy could be cancelled on the grounds of fraud. This can also make it more difficult to find an auto insurance policy in the future.
Do My Auto Insurance Rates Go Up After a Theft?
Unlike at fault accidents and other situations, your auto insurance rates won’t necessarily go up automatically after your car is stolen. If you live in an area with a high rate of theft, however, you will typically pay higher auto insurance premiums. The cost of comprehensive coverage will also raise your premiums, as more coverage costs more. It is still important to have the highest amount of auto insurance to protect your vehicle, however, because if your vehicle is stolen without insurance, you would have to purchase another form of transportation all out of pocket.
If you have any questions after your vehicle is stolen, speak with police and your insurance agent for clarification.