Whether you bought a new vehicle recently or have been driving it for years, it is a valuable asset. You take good care of it, but you also need to consider protecting it against theft. The statistics indicate that the number of vehicle thefts has been increasing since 2001. What would happen if your car gets stolen? If that happens, you must remain calm. Here is a detailed guide on how to act in these situations!
Make Sure It Is Actually Stolen
You might think this sounds redundant, but confirmation is necessary. First, make sure that is where you last parked your car. Next, check if your family members or roommates took the vehicle. Once you are sure that your vehicle was stolen, call the police right away. Try to give as many details as possible, including:
- When did you notice the car went missing?
- How much time was it parked there?
- Did you leave any valuable belongings in the vehicle?
You can ask around for potential witnesses, but the police will check on CCTV cameras if there are any.
Can I File a Claim with My Insurance Company?
Car insurance companies provide theft protection as part of their policies. However, please note that it is a part of a comprehensive plan that involves third-party theft and fire cover. That means theft protection needs to be a part of your policy to qualify for claiming. Another thing to consider is that the insurance company will analyze the details of the theft. They might check the police report and also ask you about the details. Your claim will be denied if you willingly gave the keys to someone. That could be your friend who betrayed you and took the vehicle or a valet you trusted to wash your car. Either way, it counts as the owner’s negligence, and the insurance company has grounds to deny the claim.
How Much Money Will You Receive?
After approving your claim, the insurance company will determine two details:
- Sum Insured – that is the maximum compensation sum specified in the insurance deal.
- Vehicle’s market value – the car’s value estimation at the time you lost it. It is determined by assessing the values of vehicles of the same age, model, and make. The assessment won’t include additional accessories you installed on the car, such as an entertainment center or an audio system.
Please note that the insurance agency will pay the lower of these two sums. That is why you should avoid under-insuring your car, especially if you live in a city with a high theft risk. The company will offer a settlement sum, and you can choose whether to accept it. You have the right to file an appeal. The most common reason for appealing is that the company didn’t appraise the market value realistically. When you send an appeal and include ads, newspaper clippings, and any other details that could help prove that they are wrong.
What If the Car Gets Recovered?
The theft claim process could last up to six months (that is the insurance agency’s deadline to send a settlement offer). During that time, the police might recover your car. If that happens, you can withdraw the theft claim. For cars that suffered damage due to the theft, you have the right to pursue a damage claim.