You have car insurance for this very reason, but you never think it'll happen to you. Then, out of the blue, it does. What do you do next?
1. Call the Police
The sooner you do this, the greater your chance of getting your car back. Police deal with hundreds of car thefts every day, so the longer you leave it, the colder the trail and the more likely your stolen car will become a statistic.
If you notify them immediately, the police can put the word out so officers on duty can start looking out for your vehicle. If it’s been taken for a joy ride, the thieves may still be in it or have abandoned it nearby, making it easier to spot. If it has been taken for parts or resale, however, your chances of recovering it are slimmer.
When speaking with the police, you'll need to file a stolen car report and the police will need all the information relating to your vehicle including make, model, year, colour, registration number and VIN number. You will also need to report any personal items that were in the vehicle when it was stolen, particularly if they include identifying papers such as a registration certificate, which the thieves could use to resell the vehicle.
2. Call Your Insurance Provider
Your next call should be to your car insurance company. You’ll need to report the theft and confirm your policy number and level of cover. Also report any personal items that were in the car at the time, such as your wallet, smartphone, tablet or GPS.
Check if your car insurance policy contains a waiting clause before any action is taken. This is to give the police time to possibly recover your car. If your policy is fully comprehensive, it may include rental of a hire car for a specified period while your claim is being processed. If your stolen car is not recovered, your insurance company may pay you the amount for which it’s covered.
If your car is recovered with damage as a result of the theft, your insurance company will either pay to have it repaired or write it off and pay you for the value for which it’s covered. Check your policy or call your insurance company for the details.
3. Inform Other contacts
If your wallet was in the car and contained credit cards, you will need to notify your bank and credit card providers as soon as possible so the cards can be cancelled and reissued. If your house keys were in the car, you should also call a locksmith at your earliest convenience and have your locks changed, particularly if there was paperwork identifying your address in the vehicle.
If you still owe money on your car, you will also need to call the finance company to report it as stolen. Both your insurance company and finance company will likely require copies of the police report for their records, so you should ask the police how these copies can be obtained.
4. What NOT to Do
Smartphone technology coupled with GPS devices can track a stolen car via satellite and pinpoint its location. If you have one of these devices, do NOT try and find your vehicle on your own. Report its location to the police and let them deal with it. Car thieves are desperate individuals and trying to recover your car by yourself could be a very dangerous undertaking.
Would you be prepared if it happened to you? Start a quote with us today to ensure you're covered for the worst of times.