If your car is stolen, it can be a shocking or scary situation. Believe it or not, vehicles are stolen once every 44 seconds in the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s why we’ve put together tips for recovering a stolen vehicle to help you handle such a crisis.
Get to a safe place. Take some deep breaths and make sure you are in a safe location. If you see your vehicle being stolen, don’t try to interact with the theft. Just be sure to contact the authorities and get to a well-lit area with lots of people. Safety is always a priority.
Be sure it was stolen. If you arrive to your parking spot to see your car missing, take a moment to consider if it has actually been stolen. Allstate suggests looking for “No Parking” signs, fire hydrants, or private drives. It may also have been repossessed if you missed some car payments.
Call the police. Whether it was repossessed, towed, or stolen, you’ll need to call the police. Most tow-truck drivers are required to inform the police if they take your vehicle. If it was stolen, then you can get a police report, which is necessary for insurance and legal purposes.
You will need a detailed description of your car, your VIN, license plate number, registration, and driver’s license number if possible. Keep copies of these in a safe location at home, that way you are protected in the event of a vehicle theft.
Call your insurance. Notifying your insurance will not only expedite your claim, but it will also keep you protected in case the thief does anything illegal with it. If they damage property or harm people, it can be difficult to dispute liability if you fail to call your insurance.
Prevent theft. Finally, be sure to park in well-lit locations, with the windows up and doors locked. Hide valuables under seats or in the trunk, and consider buying LoJack or OnStar to track your car.