How to Report a Stolen Car
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- What to do
- My vehicle is back
- Reviewing insurance needs
- Ways to prevent
If your vehicle is stolen, you must report it to law enforcement and then file a claim with your insurance company.
Over 720,000 vehicles were stolen in the US in 2019, and most people don’t know what to do if they’re hit by a car thief. While vehicle thefts have been trending downwards for the last few decades, they still happen more frequently than you might think.
That’s why car insurance comparison app and broker app Jerry has compiled a step-by-step guide reporting a stolen vehicle.
What to do if your car is stolen
If your car is stolen, it’s important that you take immediate action to minimize any repercussions. Failing to report your vehicle stolen could leave you liable for any accidents that happen in the meantime.
And if you want your vehicle back, time is of the essence. The longer you wait to report your car stolen, the less chance you typically have of recovering it.
Here’s what you need to do if it happens to you:
How to report a stolen car to law enforcement ||| How to report
Your first step should always be to contact the police and file a stolen vehicle report. You’ll need to share as much information as you can with them to help maximize your chances of getting the car back.
They’ll want to know about the following:
- Your license plate number
- The make, model, and year of the vehicle
- The vehicle color
- Any distinct features on (or in) the vehicle
- The vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Whether your car has a GPS device that can help them track it down
- Details about how and when it was stolen, if you can provide them
How to report a stolen car to your insurance company ||| Reporting to your insurance company
Next, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to let them know that your vehicle was stolen. If you have comprehensive insurance, you might be fully covered (minus your deductible).
Notifying your insurance company means that you won’t be held responsible if someone is hurt or property is damaged while the vehicle is out of your possession.
Your insurer will likely want the following information:
- A description of your vehicle
- The last known whereabouts of your vehicle
- A list of personal items that were in the car at the time of the theft
- The location of all keys to the vehicle
- The title for the vehicle
- Contact information for your leasing or financing company, if applicable
If your insurance policy includes rental car insurance, you may be covered for some or all of a rental vehicle until you get yours back.
Reporting the vehicle theft to your financing or leasing company
If your vehicle is leased or financed, you’ll also need to report the theft to the financing or lease provider.
It’s a good idea to give permission for your insurance company and financing or leasing company to speak to each other. Having them in direct contact with each other will help the claims process move faster and means that you won’t need to be caught in the middle of communications.
Typically, the insurance company will pay the claim out to the financing or leasing company so that you’re no longer liable for monthly payments. Check with your insurer to see how they handle these situations.
If your vehicle is missing, you’ll need to immediately report it to the police and your insurance company. If the car is financed or leased, you’ll also need to make a call to your financing or leasing company.
You got your vehicle back—now what?
If the police are able to recover your vehicle, you’ll want to immediately check to ensure that none of your personal property is missing. While comprehensive car insurance won’t cover personal items, your home or renter’s insurance policy might.
Your insurance company will likely send a claims adjuster out to examine your vehicle for any damage while it was out of your custody. As long as you reported the car stolen to your insurer, you won’t be responsible for any of the damage.
If a claim needs to be paid out and you own the car outright (that is, it isn’t leased or financed), you’ll ultimately receive that payment from your insurance company—minus your deductible and any depreciation amount.
Reviewing your insurance needs
As terrible as the experience can be, a stolen car highlights the importance of having good insurance coverage—including comprehensive insurance.
If you need to review your coverage needs or revisit your policy, comparing quotes from a few different insurers is usually the best place to start. Jerry can help!
Jerry is a personal insurance broker that lives in your pocket. But don’t worry about buying tiny office furniture, Jerry is an app.
Once you download Jerry, just answer a handful of questions that will take you roughly 45 seconds to complete and you’ll immediately get car insurance quotes for coverage similar to your current plan. Jerry customers save an average of $879 a year. Oh, and we should mention—Jerry is free!
3 ways to prevent your car from being stolen
Taking steps to prevent car theft can save you a lot of stress. And bonus—it might even help lower your insurance rates! Here are some tips to keep your vehicle safe.
Keep your windows closed and doors locked
Thieves are generally opportunistic, and keeping your car secure makes it harder for them to pull off a quick car theft. More often than not, they’ll move on to an easier target.
Install an anti-theft device
An alarm system is noisy and draws lots of unwanted attention. Put simply, it can make a thief think twice about targeting your vehicle. On the off chance that it is stolen, a GPS can help authorities locate it quickly.
Hide your valuables
Leaving valuable items in your car is an invitation for thieves—even things that seem relatively harmless, like spare change. Keep any valuables out of sight, or better still, remove them from your car altogether!
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