Car theft: What do I do if my car is stolen?

If you're the victim of car theft, there are a few phone calls you need to make.

If you're the victim of car theft, there are a few phone calls you need to make.

Picture this: you walk out of the mall, shopping bags in hand. You head over to where you parked…and your car isn’t there. It’s gone. Vanished. And unless your car has learned to drive itself, you realize with gut-wrenching horror that it’s been stolen. So, what now? Is there any hope of seeing your beloved car ever again?

Well, there are a few things you need to do if you’re ever the victim of Grand Theft Auto. Check out our steps below.

1. Stay calm and give yourself a second to think.

Okay, here’s the thing:

Sometimes we tend to jump to the worst conclusion. Before you go into panic mode, think through some other options. Could you have parked on the other side of the mall? (We’re all human and we’ve all been there when it comes to I-forgot-where-I-parked.) Or were you parked in a tow-away spot? Maybe your car was towed. Or is it possible that your car was repossessed? If your car disappeared from your home, is it possible that a family member with access to your keys borrowed it?

Your knee-jerk reaction to your car not being where it’s supposed to be might be panic, but try to take a breath and think through other possibilities if you’re not 100% sure that your vehicle is not where you left it.

2. Call the police.

Okay. So, your deep-breath-and-think moment didn’t lead to any epiphanies. There’s no other possibility – the car has been stolen.

Now it’s time to get the police involved.

The quicker you get the authorities involved with the car theft, the better. File the police report and give the authorities any details you can about the car – year, make, model, color, license plate number, Vehicle Identification Number (if you happen to have your insurance card, it will probably have your VIN listed.)

If your car has GPS, let the police know. It could help them find the car and return it to you.

If you have comprehensive insurance, you should be covered for car theft.

3. Talk to your insurance company.

Once you’ve gotten the police involved, it’s time to contact your car insurance company.

They’ll help you get started with the claim. If you have comprehensive coverage, you’re protected against losses or damages to your vehicle that aren’t caused by a collision, like fire, vandalism, falling objects (i.e. trees) and yes – theft. If you only have liability insurance, you won’t be covered for car theft because liability covers your responsibilities to other drivers that you injure or whose property you damage in an accident – not your own vehicle.

4. Consider contacting your local Department of Motor Vehicles.

Your DMV might have a database or record of vehicles that have been stolen. You may want to think about informing them that your car has been stolen.

5. Contact your lender or financing company.

If you still have a car payment and owe money to a leasing company, you’ll need to tell them that the car has been stolen. Much of the time they will work with your insurance company directly to deal with the car theft.

But it’s important to prevent your car from being stolen in the first place.

It’s important to take care to prevent a car theft with the following tips…

  • Take your car key with you
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you leave your vehicle
  • Park in well-lit, well-traveled areas
  • Don’t leave valuables in the car (or hide them before you depart for your destination)
  • Don’t leave your car running and unattended
  • Consider getting an anti-theft device

These tips can also help you with preventing a car break-in. Take precautions to protect your vehicle.

So, that’s the deal with car theft. There are a few phone calls you have to make after you’re sure that the car has in fact been stolen. First, the police. Then, your insurer. And then your leasing or financing company. So, yes, it might mean you have a lot of time on the phone in your future, but hopefully it results in your car coming home.

Need some auto insurance? We would be happy to help you get some quotes so you can save money on your auto insurance. Our agents are professionals at helping people find the best coverage at the best rate. All you have to do to get quotes is fill out our online form or call us today.


How to protect your Atlanta vehicle and prevent a car break-in

It's important to protect your car and prevent a break-in.

It's important to protect your car and prevent a break-in.

As the owner of a car, you’re probably pretty protective of your vehicle. You don’t want anything to happen to it – no scrapes or dings on your watch! So chances are you would not be pleased if someone smashed your window and stole your belongings in a blatant break-in.

Since we can’t exactly put our cars in our pockets and take them with us wherever we go, it’s impossible to keep an eye on your vehicle all the time. Smash-and-grabs are, unfortunately, a very common occurrence. Aside from the feeling of utter rage, you’d probably feel pretty violated if someone broke the window of your car. That is your space.

Anyways, we’ve got a few tips to help you prevent a car break-in.

1. Hide your belongings before you get to your destination.

It’s best to stow anything you’re planning on leaving in the car before you arrive at your destination. If you wait until you get there and then transfer your bag or briefcase to the trunk to hide it, a thief could see you move it … and then watch as you walk away and leave the car (and goodies) unattended. But if your treasures are safely stashed before you arrive, no one will be the wiser and you could avoid a break-in. Yes, your home insurance might cover belongings stolen from your car, but you may as well try not to use it.

2. Take your valuables and electronics with you.

Electronics are the jackpot for smash-and-grab thieves. Don’t leave your phone or iPod in the car and especially not in plain sight. Unless it’s impossible, don’t leave any valuables in your vehicle. Take them with you so that they won’t be stolen.

3. Lock the doors and roll up the windows and sunroof.

There’s no reason to make the thief’s job easier. If you leave your doors unlocked or your windows down, you’re inviting a thief to snag your stuff as they casually stroll on by. If you increase the amount of effort it’s going to take to steal from your car, you may prevent a lazy thief from striking. Even if you’ll only be gone for a minute, take an extra second to click the Lock button.

Hiding your valuables can help you prevent a car break-in.

4. Don’t leave chargers and cords in sight.

A phone charger or GPS cord left plugged into the cigarette lighter (that thing that charges your phone) is a big breadcrumb for a thief. Where there is a charger, there could be a phone. And if there’s a chance there’s a phone, you could be painting a target on your car and inviting a break-in.

Pro tip: If you use a GPS that suctions to your windshield, remove the suction cup and wipe away the marks before leaving your car.

5. Keep your car shipshape.

If there are empty shopping bags, papers, or wrappers littering your car, a thief might think that the clutter conceals something they want. By keeping a tidy, neat car you send a message that there’s nothing to see – or steal.

6. Choose your parking spot carefully.

The ideal parking spot is well-lit and located in a well-traveled area. The more likely they are to be caught, the less likely a thief is to smash windows. Avoid parking spots where your vehicle would be concealed from view. This only invites trouble. It’s important to understand the reasons to drive safely, but it’s also important to stay safe when you park your car.

7. Consider a car alarm or other theft deterrents.

The thief who breaks into your car could be trying to steal it. Having a steering wheel lock or collar, or a lock for the brake pedal tells the thief right off that that car isn’t going anywhere. Car alarms are also helpful.

So, those are some things you can do to minimize the chance that your car will be broken into. Be mindful of your situation and take steps to keep your car safe. Your car is a faithful friend…and broken windows are no fun.

If your vehicle is victim of a break-in, call the police and don't touch anything.

Looking to save money on your car insurance? We would be happy to help you with that. We can help you shop for the best coverage at the best rate. All you have to do to get auto insurance quotes is fill out our quote form or give us a call today.