How traumatic it can be when you find out that your car isn’t where you parked when you return! You haven’t parked it somewhere else, lent it to your friend, or been towed. Then what would have happened to your car? Your car has got stolen!
With thousands of car thefts every year, motor vehicle crime is a widespread crime in the country. In 2020, the country reported around 873,080 car thefts. The rate of car thefts increased with the pandemic outbreak. If you’re a victim of car theft, it is better to quickly report the stolen car to law enforcement and make a claim with your insurer.
You also need to report your stolen car to your financing or leasing provider. It ensures to avoid legal complications and ensures a smooth claim process. Here’s all the info you need on how to report a stolen car.
How to report a stolen car
It’s crucial to act quickly if your car gets stolen to avoid adverse consequences. If you fail to report the stolen car, you will be liable for all the accidents that happen in the meantime. It is less likely you will get it back if you wait longer to report it. How to report a stolen car includes two significant steps. When you notice your car got stolen, you should first contact the police. After that, you’ll have to notify several other agencies, including your insurer, about the theft.
How to report a stolen car to the police
If your car gets stolen, the initial thing you should do is contact law enforcement and submit a stolen vehicle report. Insurance companies won’t accept an auto theft claim until you file a complaint with the police. Be ready to provide all the details about the stolen car. Based on the police department, you will be able to file the complaint via phone or online. You will have to give the following details.
- Your car’s license plate number
- Your car’s make, model, and year
- Car’s color
- Any unique features of the car
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Whether your car has a GPS gadget, which will help them to track it down easily
- Details about when you saw the stolen car last time, like the date and time
How to report a stolen car to your insurance company
The next step is to report the car stolen to your insurance carrier. While there is no such thing as ‘stolen car insurance,’ a comprehensive insurance policy will cover you if your car gets stolen. Your car will have full coverage (minus your deductible) if you have a comprehensive insurance policy. It is essential to report the theft to the insurer even if you don’t have a comprehensive car insurance policy. It will protect you if someone gets hurt or property damage happens while the car is not with you. Your insurer will want these details from you.
- Your car’s description
- The last known location of the car
- Complete list of personal items that were in the car during the theft
- Location of spare keys of the vehicle
- Title for the vehicle, if there is one
- Details of the leasing or financing company, if any
How to report a stolen car to your leasing/finance company
You must notify the financing or leasing company if your stolen car is financed or leased. Your insurer will pay the financing or leasing company a claim, and you will no longer be responsible for payments. Having the insurer and the financing/leasing firm directly in contact will ensure a speedy claims procedure.
Is it necessary for me to report a stolen car to the DMV?
Vehicle theft reporting rules vary by state. However, it is better that you notify the DMV as quickly as possible when a car theft happens. Be ready to submit many documents, such as police reports and insurance documents, to prove that you are not the vehicle’s owner for the time being.
You can file for a stolen car insurance claim if you’ve taken a comprehensive auto insurance policy. Since this is an optional coverage, you’ll want to confirm your policy to ensure you have it. Always check with insurers to know which company gives the cheapest rates for a comprehensive auto insurance policy. Be aware that you cannot cover a loss that already happened with a new policy.
Know more about how does insurance cover a stolen car!
What happens when your car doesn’t have insurance?
You’re out of luck if your car gets stolen without insurance coverage. The majority of stolen vehicles get recovered within 2-7 days. If your car doesn’t have insurance, you should first contact the police department. Then record the vehicle as stolen to the DMV. The final step is to search for the car by yourself.
Does filing a police report affect insurance?
You need to file a police report for a successful stolen car insurance claim. Most insurance companies want a police report if your car gets stolen, vandalized, or damaged by a hit-and-run driver. Your insurer can deny the claim if they want the police report and you fail to produce it.
What to do after your car is recovered?
If your car is stolen and later found, you should first check to see if you have lost any personal belongings. Be aware that a comprehensive insurance policy won’t cover any stolen property that doesn’t belong to the car. Usually, law enforcement officials track your car within two days and will contact you.
Then get an inspection done by a claims adjuster to check whether the car incurred any damage while stolen. You won’t be liable for this damage if you have already informed them about the theft. Insurers usually need a 30-day waiting period before accepting a loss on a stolen vehicle. If the car is financed or leased, the insurer will pay the amount to the leasing firm. Also, you can do a third-party evaluation of your car to negotiate better with your insurer.
How to prevent your car from getting stolen
A stolen car can give you great headaches as you need to inform the police, your insurer, and DMV. However, you can prevent this stress by preventing car theft. Here are some steps you can follow to keep your car safe.
- Always lock your car and keep windows closed.
- Install an anti-theft device and a GPS tracking system.
- Keep your valuables hidden. You give an open invitation to the thieves if you leave expensive stuff in your car. Keep them hidden, or don’t keep them in your car.
- Locate a good parking spot. Park your car in your garage or safe, well-lit areas.
- Never leave your car in the driveway.
- Thieves usually target older cars as they’re easy to break into. So, better drive a newer car with good security features.
Here’s more info on how to check if a car is stolen!