Every 44 seconds, according to the NHTSA, a car is stolen. Obviously, if your car has been stolen, it can be an extremely stressful situation. That’s why it’s important to remain calm, get to a safe place, and follow the following list on what to do if your car is stolen.
To begin with, make sure your car is actually stolen. If your car is missing, it might seem obvious that it was stolen. However, according to Allstate, you should also look for “No Parking” signs or fire hydrants to be sure that your car wasn’t impounded or repossessed. Nonetheless, you still probably need to call the police.
Calling the police won’t guarantee you will get your car back. They will provide you with an official report, which is needed for an insurance claim. You will have to give a detailed description of your car, including the following information if possible:
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- License Plate Number
- Driver’s License Number
If you don’t have these stored in a safe location (outside of your car), be sure to write them down in case your vehicle is ever stolen in the future.
Next, call your insurance company. This is especially important, not just because you might be covered, but because a vehicle can be used to damage property or harm others. Alerting your insurance company will let you off the hook if your stolen car is used for crime.
You should also consider ways to prevent vehicle theft. Always lock your car, and never leave windows open. Hide valuable belongings, like iPads and GPS devices, and park in a well-lit area. You can also equip your car with LoJack or OnStar to track your car in the event that it is stolen.