In Canada, it is estimated that one automobile is stolen every seven minutes. By the time you finish reading this blog post, a car will be stolen – and it could be yours! That is an unsettling thought – did you lock the doors?
If you have never been the victim of a car theft, then consider yourself fortunate. But this also means you may not know how to handle the situation. It’s better to know now than to just enter into a fit of panic if it does happen.
Ready? Here are seven tips on how to report a stolen car to the police authorities:
Step 1: Look Around for Your Stolen Vehicle
Let’s face it: it can be easy to lose a 5,000-ton piece of steel in a parking lot. When you initially park, you tell yourself that you’re in the Itchy lot, but when you try to find your vehicle, you may learn that you actually parked in the Scratchy lot. (This is a “Simpsons” reference for the uninitiated!)
Before you call 911, it is important to first look around for your automobile. You may find that you forgot where you parked, or perhaps it was towed away because you were parked incorrectly.
Whatever the case, first spend a few minutes finding your Porsche Carrera or Ferrari before contacting the police. You may even speak with a lot attendant who knows what happened to your box on wheels.
Step 2: Contact the Police
Now, when you’re sure that your vehicle is missing, the only logical step is to contact the police. A lot of people might not know how to report a stolen car to the police, but the process is actually quite simple.
Believe it or not, you don’t need to call 911 to report a stolen vehicle. You can get in touch with a local police department and inform the office that your car has been stolen. It is imperative that you provide as much information as possible:
- The make, model, and year of your automobile.
The location where your vehicle was last seen.
- Any distinguishing characteristics of your car, such as bumper stickers, a unique license plate, or tinted windows.
- Have a GPS tracking device? Be sure to inform the office of this fact.
- Tell them what you have done to ensure the car was not towed or repossessed.
Once this important step has been taken, you can move on to other aspects of the reporting process.
After a couple of days, it would be a good idea to get back in touch with the authorities and check the status of your case.
Step 3: Phone Your Insurance Carrier
When it comes to the insurance part, there are two things you must do:
- Let the insurance carrier know that your car has been stolen.
- Review your insurance policy and learn about what is and what is not covered.
Indeed, with the top-of-the-line insurance coverage, your provider will cover the total market value of your vehicle – if it isn’t recovered, then the company will replace the total value, except perhaps the contents inside, like a gold watch or all seasons of “Law & Order.”
Step 4: Gather Information About Your Automobile
Believe it or not, there is a lot of information about your car out there. From the vehicle identification number (VIN) to the place where your car was sold, you should gather as much information about your automobile as possible.
This will help with the investigation, it will be helpful to the insurance provider, and you may even do some sleuth work on your own. It definitely helps when you have a car alarm or a driveway alarm installed, which may give the insurance provider more information about when the car was stolen.
Step 5: Pick Up a Written Copy of the Report
Either on the same day or the next day, you should visit the police department you filed the stolen car and obtain a written copy of the report. Remember, you may not immediately get the police report if it was filed over the telephone, and be sure to ask for the case number.
Before you leave the house, take the case number with you, carry some photo identification, and bring documentation for the vehicle in question.
Step 6: Notify the Finance Company
Is your automobile leased or is it financed by a lender? Before you roll your eyes and start handwringing, yes, they need to be informed of the latest events as well. So, notify either the company providing the leader or the firm lending your money to purchase a car.
There are two important things to be aware of. The first is to determine with your insurance company if you are responsible for letting the finance company know about the theft of your vehicle. The second is that you might be responsible for the remaining payments of your car if the insurance company doesn’t cover it (that sounds unfair, we know!).
Step 7: Visit Police Impound Lot
And, finally, you will inevitably need to pay a visit to the police impound lot.
Should the police retriever your car, they will transfer it to the impound lot for processing. This is a headache because not only do you need to provide proof that you own the car, but you will also pay the impound fees that can ring to the tune of a few hundred loonies.
Just be aware of two things:
- Call the impound lot ahead of time and find out the total amount you’ll be charged.
- Ask someone if the car is in drivable condition; if not, you need the appropriate transport accommodations, whether it’s a friend or a tow truck.
While it is harder to steal a vehicle these days, it does happen, and it’s something that you would never wish on your worst enemy. That said, should you be the victim of theft, then you need to be equipped with this knowledge for reporting a stolen car.
Now that you understand how to report a stolen car to the police, you can limit the pain and agony that comes with having your vehicle taken by an unscrupulous individual.