Here’s a Quick Way to Report a Stolen Car

July 15, 2019

No one wants to think about a stolen car, but it happens every day. Trying to figure out how to report the stolen car while you feel overwhelmed and angry about the incident can make the situation worse. Knowing how to report a stolen car before it happens to you can help you successfully (and calmly) report it.

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Keep reading to learn the basics about reporting a stolen car.

Call the Police Right Away

If you suspect a stolen car, call the police immediately. Your insurance company will need the police report before they can do anything about your stolen car. The police will ask specific questions about the car and the incident including:

  • Make and model
  • VIN number
  • Any tracking device you have in the car
  • The last place you saw the car
  • Any information you have about who you suspect (if anyone)

Report the Theft to Your Insurance Company

After filing a report with the police, you should call your insurance company. You can file the report online or over the phone, with most companies. Many insurance companies have representatives available 24/7, so report it right away for timely processing of your claim. Even if you don’t have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, let your insurance company know of the incident. If the thief causes damage to others with your car, you may still have a claim.

Your insurance company will need the following information in addition to the police report:

  • Information on all sets of keys and who has access to them
  • A list of personal belongings in the stolen vehicle
  • Proof of ownership of the vehicle (title)
  • Information for the bank or leasing company

Make sure the information you provide to the insurance company matches the information you gave the police. Any inconsistencies in reporting can delay the recovery of your car and/or paying out on the claim. Take your time and think of all of the details involved in the theft so that the police and your insurance company can work together.

If you have rental reimbursement insurance, talk to your insurance company about the necessary steps to take. While the police try to recover your car, you’ll likely need something to drive. Ask questions about the maximum daily coverage, the type of car you can rent, and the maximum number of days the insurance company will reimburse your rental charges.

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Report the Theft to the DMV

The DMV keeps a record of stolen cars, which can help locate your vehicle. The DMV often works with the police, especially if someone tries to register the vehicle in their name at the DMV. While you don’t need to exercise urgency with this step, make it a part of the process so that you cover all of your bases.

Recovering Your Car

If the police relocate your car, you have a few steps to take to inform everyone of the situation.

  • Check the interior of the vehicle for your personal belongings – If the thief stole any items, you may have to file a claim with your renter’s, or homeowner’s insurance. Comprehensive auto insurance doesn’t cover personal belongings. Make sure you have receipts and/or proof of ownership for the items.
  • Check for vehicle damage – If the thief caused damage to your vehicle, your insurance may cover it depending on the policy you have. Talk with the examiner on your case to discuss the coverage you have and the necessary steps to take to file an appropriate claim

Waiting for a Claim Payout on a Stolen Car

If the police can’t locate your car, most insurance companies require you to wait 30 days before they will pay out on a claim. After that period, the insurance company will pay your claim based on the current value of the car minus depreciation and the amount of your deductible. The insurance company will use either real data, if you had an appraisal done recently, or use comparable vehicles on the market to determine the car’s value.

If you still owe money on the car loan or you lease the vehicle, the insurance company will pay the bank or leasing company directly. You will receive any money left over after paying the liability to the bank or leasing company.

Reporting a stolen vehicle to the police and your insurance company immediately will help speed the process along. The less time the thief has to get away with your vehicle, the higher the likelihood of its return. Starting a claim right away also helps the 30-day waiting period start immediately, giving you access to your insurance claim should the police not get your car.

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