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Your Car is Stolen? Tips for Recovery and Prevention

If you’ve ever walked out in a parking lot and not immediately found your car, you know that sinking feeling in your stomach. A variety of questions start popping up in your head “Where did I park?,” “Was my car stolen?” or “Oh wait—which car did I drive here?” Another possibility could be “Oh no—did I park illegally and get towed?” Once you can think through all the scenarios and are convinced that your auto may indeed be stolen, simply follow these tips to ensure that you are making intelligent choices in this stressful situation. 

Contact the Local Police

First, contact your local police and let them know your location whether it be a shopping center, local event site or even your own residence. The police will need a variety of information from you–Make, Model, Year, Color of the vehicle. If you have the Auto Registration and VIN number of the car, you will provide essential information to the authorities. Chances are the State Registration card is in your missing car so another option may be to see if any of the details that are needed are listed on your Auto Insurance identification card. If your car has any special identifying marks, stickers, etc, let the police know. If you have a tracking system in your vehicle such as OnStar or Hum, you will need to inform the police that you have a tracking system in your vehicle. 

Make a list of what you Remember Being in the Car

It is important for you to make a list of things that were in the auto.  Although we shouldn’t leave valuables in our vehicles, many people leave purses, electronics, expensive sunglasses, etc in the car. 

Reach out to your Auto Insurance Company

If you have car insurance with a trusted company, you can rest assured that they will guide you through this process every step of the way. Your automobile insurance company will be able to take a look at your policy and make sure you are clear on what this process will look like. It is important to understand that not every policy will guarantee a stolen car check. Comprehensive plans offer protection in the event that a car is stolen.

Make Sure your Coverage is Right for You

If you feel you are under insured, we recommend shopping around to compare car insurance rates by using a car insurance estimator features. You can buy car insurance online and get car insurance quotes. However, cheap car insurance doesn’t guarantee to save you money in the long run. We recommend discussing your proposed coverage with an agent once you’re quoted a car insurance price.  Contact your insurance company after you finish speaking with the police. Additionally,  if you do indeed have comprehensive auto insurance, you will need to file a claim. You will need a copy of the police report for the claim. Before removing the vehicle from your policy talk with your insurance company about the appropriate measures.

Talk to an Agent

The average car insurance policy can be confusing to customers.  We recommend establishing trust with an agent and letting them help guide you on when you should remove the vehicle. It’s important to remember that personal items will not be covered under your auto insurance. Any personal items will need to be filed under your homeowners or renter’s policy, not vehicle insurance. If you are driving rental cars often, we recommend purchasing rental car insurance to help protect you. 

Report your Auto Missing to the DMV in your State

Your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office will be a great source in helping find the location of your auto. They have extensive databases that will track registered cars, stolen cars, and recovered cars. The DMV in North Carolina has a License and Theft Bureau that helps recover vehicles by exposing local auto chop shops and work with various agencies to investigate and recover stolen cars. 

Regroup and Figure Out Other Implications of this Theft

Next, after you take the measures previously discussed, you need to determine the other implications from this incident. After a police report is obtained, other companies may need to be contacted concerning the theft.  These companies may include the GPS tracking system company for auto. Check to see if your driver’s license was also in your vehicle because you will need to report that it was also stolen and order a replacement. Additionally, credit card companies need to be notified if the cards were stolen from a purse or wallet. Finally, if you had house keys on the car key ring, you may want to consider having your home locks changed. 

How to Prevent Thefts in the Future

Most of these ideas seem simple. However,  even these simple things can deter a criminal who is considering stealing your car.

  • Lock the doors
  • Hide all items that are temptations to persons walking by (purses, cash, electronics)
  • Close all windows and sunroofs
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Don’t leave your keys in the car–even if you are leaving it unattended for just a moment

Does the Vehicle I Drive Put Me at More Risk for Theft?

According to the Triad Business Journal in North Carolina, the most stolen cars in 2017 were:

  1. Honda Accord Year 1997
  2. Ford Pick Up Year 2004
  3. Toyota Camry Year 2007
  4. Honda Civic Year 2000
  5. Chevy Pickup Year 1999
  6. Nissan Altima Year 2015
  7. Toyota Corolla Year 2016
  8. Chevrolet Impala Year 2007
  9. Hyundai Sonata Year 2013
  10. Chevy Malibu Year 2001

What’s The Bottom Line?

In conclusion, auto theft happens more than we realize.  In fact, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that over 750,000 cars are stolen each year. This costs us all through increased insurance premiums. If we want cheap auto insurance, we need to all work together to ensure that we use common sense and keep our vehicles secure.

Contact Us!

Finally, in the unfortunate circumstance that you do have a theft, trust that the team at Carolina Insurance Professionals has you covered by helping you select a motor vehicle insurance policy that will protect you when the unexpected happens. Call us today if you would like to do a review of your current auto policy.