June 16, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

What to Do When Your Car is Stolen

You never think you’re going to be the victim of auto theft, but then it happens one day. Your car is stolen. The fact is, automobile theft is unfortunately on the rise. Between 2019 and 2020, car thefts went up over 9 percent. During the pandemic, the number of stolen cars has gone up by more than 57 percent in Los Angeles County.

When you live in a dynamic environment like Venice, there are a lot of different types of people. With an eclectic mix of wealth and poverty, the number of cars stolen also goes up. When there are nice cars to steal, the large risk of stealing a car comes with more reward. So, when you find yourself in this position, when your car is stolen, there are a few things you should do. If you feel helpless, it’s okay. It’s time to move forward.

Reporting the Car Theft

When you are wondering how to report a stolen car, the first thing you should do is report the car theft to the police. They will ask you a range of questions pertaining to the vehicle, where the vehicle was parked, when you left it there, how long it was there, and other pertinent details about the car and theft. They will begin their investigation and give you updates about any leads they may have. The bottom line is, calling the police is the first thing you should do when you have realized your car was stolen.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

After you contact the police, you should inform your insurance company. If you have taken out comprehensive auto insurance, the insurance provider may even reimburse you for the market price of the car. You should be prepared to answer a lot of similar questions about the car, the theft, when you last drove it, and more.

The insurance company will want to make sure that you are not committing “owner give-up,” which is tantamount to fraud. Insurance fraud is a big problem for these companies, and they will want to determine if you are telling the truth right away. If you are telling the truth, you should avoid taking up too much time by reporting the stolen vehicle right away, fully answering the questions, and having documents such as the title ready.

Pertinent Questions & Special Cases

Once you have called the police, made a report, and contacted your insurance provider with all the necessary information, you might feel hopeless. Still, there are questions you may want to have answered. For example, what if you had valuables in the car? Even many insurance companies won’t cover valuables like computers, jewelry, purses, or your cell phone with comprehensive coverage. Oftentimes, cars are stolen for the valuables inside. While your homeowner’s insurance may cover these items, the car may have had to be parked at your home.

Another question you may have is, “What happens if my car was leased or financed?” Unfortunately, your financial obligation to pay off the car doesn’t end if it is stolen. You will likely need to pay back the lender either way, but comprehensive insurance may cover the remaining bills. If your rental car is stolen, the theft is typically covered in the waiver insurance. It’s imperative to contact the rental service immediately.

When You’re Waiting

Even if you are lucky and you do get your car back, as many do not, you will likely have to wait two weeks to three months to have it returned to you. There is no reason to wait for your car to come back. Instead, it’s advisable to move on with your life as best you can. Get a new car if possible. Don’t wait around for the car to come back to you, as you might not get it back at all. If you do, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

Inspect the Vehicle

If you do get your automobile back, you should thoroughly inspect it. Bring it to a mechanic that you trust, as it may have stolen parts. Making sure that it still runs well is the first step once you get it back. Don’t celebrate right away, since your car could be just a shell of its former self.

Whether you get your car back or not, it is prudent to take steps to prevent any further thefts. There are a variety of things you can do. Don’t keep valuables in your car. Look into anti-theft and tracking devices. Furthermore, if you live in a neighborhood where car theft is a risk (as even beautiful Venice has the rare pockets where this may happen), think about going for the more modest vehicle.

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