You park in a well-lit area, never leave valuables in your car, and always make sure to lock your doors and windows. On morning, though, you walk out to your car only to find that someone has thrown a rock through your window and ransacked the entire car. You thought things like this only happened to people who parked in dark alleys! Unfortunately, car theft can happen to anyone. If your car is broken into, here’s what you need to know to help make it through the aftermath quickly and confidently!
Call the cops and file a police report
An officer will need to file a report. When an officer arrives, describe the situation, the damages, and any missing items. Have your license, registration and car insurance information handy as well. If these documents were stolen, make sure the officer documents this as well. You’ll then need to go to your local DMV to receive a replacement registration. Your insurance company can likely email or mail you another copy of your insurance within a few days.
Make a list of everything that is missing
This will help the police officer file the report and could help your insurance company settle your claim. Depending on the type of car insurance coverage you have, you may or may not be compensated for items that were stolen from your car. You can, however, report any stolen items to your homeowners or renters insurance company to see if that coverage would apply.
Prevent identity theft
Was your wallet or purse stolen? Were there any personal documents in your car? To help prevent identity theft, call your bank, cancel/replace your credit cards, and document your driver’s license as stolen too. If you suspect fraudulent activity on your credit cards or that your identity has been compromised, you can also request a free credit report and a free 90 day fraud alert.
Call your insurance company and document damages
Let your insurance company know that your car was broken and talk to the agent about your deductible amount. A deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket, up front for the damage to your car before your insurance “kicks-in.” If you have a $1,000 deductible but the damage to your car is only about $250, then it might not make sense to file a claim and risk increasing your car insurance premium in the future.
If you have comprehensive coverage, damages from theft or the complete theft of your vehicle is likely covered. Check your car insurance policy to see if you have comprehensive coverage, and then call your insurance agent to see what items are covered in the event of theft.
Prevent another break-in
If your car is broken into, you’re not alone. A car is stolen in the United States every 44 seconds. While you can’t ensure that your car will never be broken into again, you can help prevent the theft of your vehicle by:
- Taking your keys with you and never leaving them in your car;
- Closing and locking your windows and doors;
- Parking in a well-lit area;
- And taking your valuables with you.
While these tips might seem like common sense, 40-50% of vehicle theft is due to driver error. Read more about the surprising ways car thieves can sneak into your car and what you can do about it.
Share your Story
Has your car ever been broken into? What advice do you have for others? Share your story and tips with our community below!