Our vehicles are an enormous part of our lives. When they get vandalized or even stolen, it can be a shocking experience. We sometimes use our emotions to make decisions in the aftermath of such an event rather than logic. It is important to keep a level head and make good choices if you’re a victim of vehicular theft or vandalism.
A stolen vehicle can often be tracked down by the police thanks to the modern technology many cars have. Insurance companies can also help retrieve a stolen car, and tracking devices can notify police when a vehicle is taken out of a specific location.
We’ll identify the things you shouldn’t do after a car theft. We’ll also discuss some thoughtful and measured steps you can take instead. This ranges from deciding who to contact to staying calm and talking to others. Getting your property stolen might make you feel violated, but there are ways you can healthily process those emotions.
#1 – Don’t Track Down the Criminal
The first reaction someone might have after getting their property vandalized or their car stolen is to track down the person who committed the crime. Doing so is an emotionally raw response. It’s safer to wait until the situation has been deescalated, you are calmer, and the police can take over.
You might be putting yourself in danger when you try to find the person who stole your car. You have no idea where your car went most of the time. The person who stole your vehicle may be a violent individual. If you find the person who took your car, they may respond aggressively. Allowing the police to handle the investigation is better for everyone involved.
Tracking Devices and Notifying Police
Something you can do to find the criminal yourself is to install a tracking device on your vehicle before the theft happens. Being prepared ahead of time could be the difference between providing the police with valuable information and not assisting at all.
Some tracking devices can stop the car if it is taken out of a specified location set by the owner. This could be valuable in preventing the criminal from taking your car far away from your home.
If you don’t have a tracking device, there is other information you can give the police. You’ll want to provide the police with basic information, such as the make and model of your vehicle. It’s also important to include details like the vehicle color, any spoilers, valuable items in the car, and the vehicle identification number.
You should also report as much information to your insurance company regarding the theft and your vehicle. Your insurance company might help reimburse you for any damage or items taken from the car.
Not all insurance policies will cover a stolen car, though. You need comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy to have a chance at getting money for a stolen vehicle.
When you get your car back, comprehensive coverage will cover damage to the vehicle the criminal caused. Talk to your agent to get everything sorted out. Communication is critical; lying to get more from your insurance company may result in criminal charges or even a denied claim.
#2 – Don’t Use False Information
You might be enticed to embellish the information you give your insurance company so you can get more money back in a claim. You could be upset at getting your stuff stolen and want extra money back in the heat of the moment. Lying is going to put you at risk of insurance fraud, though. Never lie about what happened when talking to your insurance company.
You could lose your coverage and even get fined a large amount of money if your insurance company files a lawsuit against you. Remember, your insurance company is there for you. Don’t make this a contentious relationship.
When your car gets stolen or vandalized, your comprehensive coverage will not cover the items stolen from inside your vehicle. Your high-tech mobile phone, wallet, and other personal belongings must be claimed under your homeowner’s insurance coverage.
On the other hand, if an installed radio system or your tires were stolen, those items are likely to be covered under your comprehension coverage as they are considered parts of your vehicle. Make sure you talk with your agent about what is covered and what isn’t when a car is stolen so you can give accurate information after the fact.
#3 – Avoid Risky Situations
If you have your car stolen, think about what you can do better in the future to prevent additional crimes from happening. Think about what car you drive. You might think a Chevy Camaro or Corvette would be the most stolen car in the country, but it’s the Honda Civic.
If you drive a car you know that is commonly vandalized or stolen, make sure you park it indoors when possible. Lock your vehicle and get a security system so it’s harder for criminals to break in. And if you decide to go on vacation somewhere, you should still take security measures. Learn about the safety and security of the place you are vacationing.
Don’t bring anything in your car on your trip that you don’t want to get stolen. If something is stolen while traveling, you’ll want to talk to the local police and report the theft to your insurance company.
You can do other small things in the future to prevent your car from being stolen. If your vehicle was taken while idling or warming up, it is a great lesson never to leave it with the key in the ignition. Consider what you do to put your car in a vulnerable position, and correct those mistakes.
You could also employ the anti-theft measure of having a vehicle identification number (VIN) etching done. VIN etching is most commonly on windshields, but it can also be done on windows, side mirrors, and other removable parts. VIN etching will make your vehicle more challenging for thieves to steal, and you could also receive a VIN etching insurance discount.
If you remain calm, think logically, and correct your errors after a theft, you could get your car back and worry less about car theft.
Author Bio:Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, BuyAutoInsurance.com. He wants to help people understand how to protect their cars from theft.
Kristen Tomassi: A Life Beyond Richard Branson
The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Stonk O Tracker! – Maximize Your Trading Potential