5 Steps You Must Take if Your Car is Stolen
Car theft is a prevalent issue in America. According to a National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) report, 873,080 vehicles were stolen nationwide in 2019 alone.
Having your car stolen can be overwhelming. Besides losing your car, you may have to deal with other legal issues, especially if your vehicle is used in criminal activity. Luckily, taking the right steps immediately after your can is stolen can increase your chances of vehicle recovery and absolve you from blame if your car is used to commit a crime.
Five steps you must take if your car is stolen to be safe.
1. Report the theft to the police
The first thing you should do immediately when you realize your car is stolen is to call the police. This can help ensure that you are not held liable for crimes committed with your stolen car.
For instance, if your stolen vehicle is involved in a hit-and-run accident, you may be held liable for the accident if you cannot prove that your car was stolen. Filling a police report immediately after a car theft can help prove that your vehicle was stolen at the time of the accident, absolving you from stolen car accident liability or any other legal issue that may arise.
2. Report the theft to your insurance company
After making a police report, the next step should be informing your insurer. If your car had comprehensive insurance coverage, you are eligible to receive compensation for the stolen vehicle from your insurer if all other recovery efforts fail.
However, it is also important to report your stolen car even when you do not have a comprehensive cover on your car. Doing this helps add weight to your police report and will protect you from liability if a person gets hurt or property is destroyed by your car while it’s stolen.
When filing a report with your insurance company, ensure that your report is consistent with your police report. Any inconsistencies in the reports can be a red flag and may cause problems when proving theft and filing a claim with the insurer.
3. Report the theft to your leasing or financing agent
If your stolen vehicle was leased or financed, you need to immediately inform the leasing or the financing company. Under these circumstances, the insurer pays out the claim to the leasing or financing agent, directly relieving you of the burden of making payments. Therefore, it would be best to have your leasing or financing company directly contact your insurer to ensure that the claims process moves quickly.
4. Contact the DMV
Filing a report with your state’s DMV is another important measure to take if your vehicle is stolen.
Your state DMV may require you to have a copy of the police report and fill out a form indicating basic information on the stolen vehicle. This information can also be useful evidence in proving theft in the event of a lawsuit relating to the stolen vehicle.
Keep in mind that every state has unique procedures for filling the report with set time windows to file a report. To be on the safe side, it would help to file a report as soon as possible.
5. Tech-track your car
If your stolen car is tech-savvy or has tech tracking devices installed, you can serve the police with any information that can help them track the vehicle via GPS. Some anti-car theft devices can also help slow the car down or immobilize it in the event of theft.
There is no denying that dealing with car theft can be frustrating. Fortunately, by following the five steps listed above, you can significantly help reduce the frustrations. Remember, the faster you take the right steps, the higher your chances of having a better outcome.