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Five Things to Do if Your Car is Stolen

Knowing the Steps Before It Happens

When something unexpected or unpleasant happens, people can have a tendency not to think clearly, and that’s why having clear steps to follow can make the process of reacting easier. Having a car stolen is often unexpected and certainly unpleasant, and most people usually feel lucky if they can even remember the name of their insurance company. Here is a checklist you can use if this horrible event ever happens to you.

  1. Make sure your car has actually been stolen. It may sound silly, but we’ve all been there when we’ve gone to the place we were sure we parked the car, but it turned out the car was parked somewhere else. Take a minute and think about where you parked. Another possibility is the car was towed—checking the impound before reporting a stolen car can save a lot of trouble.
  1. If the vehicle has been stolen, call the police immediately. The sooner you call, the more likely your car can to be found. You need to file a police report and make sure to give exact details about the car including the VIN number. If the car has a tracking device, give the police that information. After the police report is finished, keep a copy on file for insurance claims in the future.
  1. Be sure to report to the car stolen to your insurance agency no matter what company or coverage you have. The company needs to know you are no longer in possession. What happens after that depends on the policy you carry. Most won’t include reimbursement for stolen vehicles though this varies by state. Most policies only cover you in the event of a wreck, and if you’re at fault, your policy only covers medical expenses and repairs for the other party. To have stolen vehicles covered, you need to update your coverage to a comprehensive auto insurance.
  1. You need to report your stolen car to the DMV, as it keeps a database of stolen cars and works with the police department to recover cars and put them back in the hands of their rightful owner.
  1. You can also take matters into your own hands a bit by searching for your car online in places like Craigslist and other selling forums. It might be a long shot, but finding your car for sale online isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

Something to keep in mind is 87.8 percent of vehicles that were stolen in 2012 were recovered, and those are good odds. Follow these steps and before you know it, your car will likely be returned.

Think you or someone you know is in need of Behind the Wheel Training? Training Wheels is a Northfield driving school specializing in teaching new teen drivers how to stay safe on the road. For more information on our lessons, please click here.

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