If your car is stolen, you should call the police as soon as possible to file a report, then notify your insurance company. Comprehensive insurance will cover any damage that results from theft, and if your vehicle isn’t recovered, it will reimburse you for what the car was worth prior to being stolen.
Even if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you should still report the stolen car to your insurance company. This way, you can ensure that you won’t be held liable if the thief causes any damage while driving your car.
What to Do If Your Car Is Stolen
1. Call the police and file a report
You should call the police within 24 hours of your car being stolen. When you file a police report after your car is taken, you will need your vehicle’s specific information. This may include your car’s physical description (make/model/year), license plate number, and the vehicle identification number (VIN). You should also provide police with the specific date and time that the theft occurred.
2. Contact your insurance company
You will likely need to give your insurer the same information that you gave the police, in addition to a list of personal items that were in the vehicle when it was stolen. Your car will be covered if you have comprehensive insurance, and any personal items are generally covered by homeowners or renters insurance. If you have rental reimbursement insurance, your insurer may cover the cost of a rental car, too.
3. Contact your lender or lessor
If your car is leased or financed, you need to notify your lender or lessor if the vehicle is stolen. Since they will receive the final settlement if your car is totaled or not recovered, your lender or lessor can work directly with the car insurance company in order to expedite the claims process.
4. If the car is recovered, get it inspected
In the event that the police find your stolen car, you need to take it to a body shop and have it inspected. Cars are often stolen for parts, so it’s important to make sure your vehicle is still in working order and safe to drive.
5. File an insurance claim
If the stolen car gets recovered but is damaged or declared a total loss, your comprehensive insurance can be used to fix or replace it.
Only about half of stolen vehicles are recovered, so there’s a good chance that you won’t get your car back. In that case, your comprehensive insurance will reimburse you for the car’s actual cash value (ACV), which is what it was worth at the time that it was stolen.
For leased or financed cars, the settlement will be paid to your lender or lessor. If there is a balance remaining on your loan or lease after your insurance pays out, then you will need gap insurance in order to avoid paying for a car that you no longer have.
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