What a terrible feeling: You’ve left your car in a parking garage during a day of shopping or in the extended parking lot at the airport. You head to where you think you left your wheels, keys in hand ready to drive home, only to find a vacant spot where your car should be. Your car (and everything inside) has been stolen! Here is what to do if your car is stolen.
What to do if your car is stolen:
- Verify your Car was Stolen — When you park and leave your car for any length of time, it’s easy to lose track of your parking space. Before you panic, be sure you are looking for your car in the correct lot. When parking, consider taking a photo of the lot sign nearest your car so you will have a point of reference when you are ready to depart.
- Call the Police — It’s possible that your car was ticketed and towed. There are several reasons a car may be towed away, including if it is blocking traffic, in a snow-removal zone, or appears to be abandoned. When you call the police dispatch, they will be able to tell you if your car was towed and where to find it.
- File a Report — When you determine that your car is, in fact, not where you left it (and has not been towed), contact the police immediately to file a report. When making the report, it’s helpful to be able to share the make, model, year and color of the vehicle, the license plate number, and your license or ID number. The local police will file a report and mobilize officers to look for your vehicle.
- Call Your Auto Insurance Company — After you have filed a police report, contact your insurance company to file a claim. (Farm Bureau customers can start this process with one phone call, either to their agent or directly with the 24-hour Claims Center.) To file an insurance claim, you will need to have your police report handy.
- Leverage Available Technology — There’s a lot of technology available to help you recover stolen vehicle. This technology assists law enforcement locate and recover vehicles, and comes standard on several makes and models: OnStar (General Motors), Safety Connect (Toyota) and Blue Link (Hyundai) are just a few examples, each with different capabilities. Blue Link, for example, will immobilize a stolen vehicle and report the vehicle location to the authorities.
If your vehicle doesn’t come equipped with this technology, you can install security systems that will sync with apps on your phone and allow you to track your vehicle location. It’s important to note: This technology is designed to help law enforcement track and recover your vehicle; don’t try to approach a car thief on your own! Safety should always be your first consideration.
An Ounce of Prevention…
Benjamin Franklin famously said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He meant that it is far easier to protect yourself from the beginning than try to recover later what you have lost. So, even if you don’t drive a luxury car with all the bells and whistles, you should still be diligent about preventing car theft. After all, the most common models that thieves steal are domestic cars that you likely encounter on your commute every day. They sound simple, but there are a host of common sense tips that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommends to prevent auto theft:
- Park in a well-traveled, well-lit area
- Take your keys with you — avoid leaving them in your car
- Close and lock all windows and doors
- Keep valuables hidden
- Install an anti-theft device in your car
If your car is stolen, don’t despair. Your insurance is there to help you pick up the pieces after your car is stolen. Contact your Farm Bureau agent to schedule a SuperCheck® to ensure you have the right amount of coverage for all of life’s moments.