Immediate Steps to Take if Your Car Is Stolen

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a vehicle was stolen every 39 seconds in the US, costing vehicle owners over $7.4 billion in 2020 alone.

The staggering number of auto thefts is an issue for everyone to be concerned about because as the number of thefts increases, so do insurance premiums.

In previous blogs, we discussed tips for preventing auto theft, but what do you do if your vehicle is stolen? 

1. Report the theft to the police 

When filing your report, have the following information about your vehicle handy:

    • Make, model, year, and color 
    • License plate number 
    • Vehicle identification number (VIN #) 

Additional details that can aid in recovering your vehicle include where your car was parked at the time of the theft, the approximate time of the theft, and whether you have GPS installed in the stolen vehicle. 

2. Notify your insurance companies 

If you carry comprehensive coverage, aka “other than collision” coverage, your policy may help pay to replace your vehicle up to the policy’s coverage limit. The limit for comp coverage is usually the depreciated value of your vehicle – minus your deductible.

If your car is leased or financed, your lender may require you to carry comprehensive coverage until your loan is paid in full. And if you own your vehicle, comprehensive coverage is optional.

Your auto policy does not cover personal property like tools and valuables stolen from your vehicle. Instead, you will have to file a report through your home, renters, or condo insurance to recover the cost of your stolen valuables. 

3. Contact your financial institutions 

    • Report the theft to your lender/lienholder if your car is leased or financed 
    • Reach out to your bank and lenders if you believe your credit or debit card information is compromised – they will most likely issue you cards with new account numbers.
    • Set up a temporary fraud security alert on your credit history 

Documents like your vehicle registration contain personal information thieves can use to steal your identity. This alert notifies lenders they should take extra steps to verify your identity before approving any new credit requests. Following a vehicle theft, you should review your credit reports regularly. 

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