Having your car stolen is an event that can shake even the calmest of people. If your car is stolen, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of recovering your vehicle.
Before you call your insurance company, ask yourself if there are any legal explanations for the disappearance of your vehicle. If you parked your car illegally, it may have been towed, or if you have not paid your car payments, your vehicle may be repossessed.
If none of those situations apply to you, it is safe to assume someone stole your car.
Do you have comprehensive coverage?
In order to have theft covered on your car insurance policy, you must have comprehensive coverage. This applies across the country.
A common mistake people make is purchasing home insurance with the belief that the policy will cover their car as well, but a home insurance policy does not cover stolen vehicles and uninsured motorist coverage. Even if your vehicle was stolen from your garage, you still need comprehensive coverage in order to recover your losses.
If you leased or financed your vehicle, comprehensive coverage is mandatory, but if you own the car, this type of coverage is optional. Damage from animals, natural disasters, and other hazards are also covered with a comprehensive coverage policy.
Notify your insurance company and the police as soon as possible.
The sooner you contact the police, the higher the chances are of your car being recovered. Your insurance company should also be notified. You can check if you have comprehensive coverage and begin the process of filing your claim.
However, most insurance companies will not finalize your claim until 30 days have passed. During those 30 days, it is highly likely the police will find your car. Not all insurance companies have a 30 day wait time, but most do. To find out more, contact your insurance agent. If the car is found but there are damages to the interior, your comprehensive coverage policy will cover those damages as well.
The value of your vehicle must be determined.
Insurance adjusters must determine the current value of your vehicle after it has been stolen. This is completed through an agreement you sign, as well as the lender if you are financing your car.
Next, the insurance company has to sign the papers as well. In this case, you will not have ownership of your car but you will receive money from the insurance company that covers the current value of your car.
However, you can negotiate with your insurance company to buy your car back in case the police find it.
The theft claim will be investigated by the insurance company.
Theft claims are always investigated. The conversation you have with your claims adjuster will be recorded. This is standard procedure and you should not take offense.
The insurance company has a duty to find out whether the theft claim is real or fraudulent. You will be asked about the last location of your car, as well as the model, year and mileage of the vehicle.
Ask your insurance agent what will happen to your stolen belongings.
Any belongings that are stolen are not covered by your car insurance unless you have a homeowners or a renters insurance policy. This means that you have to pay a separate deductible if you want the belongings inside your vehicle to be covered.
However, if you purchased both home and auto insurance from the same carrier, you may be able to negotiate a single deductible and cover your lost belongings. It is usually recommended to purchase insurance policies from the same company because they are usually more willing to negotiate with you.