You’re looking around for your car. Where did you park it again? Then you realize—Your Car Is STOLEN! So what do you do now? Don’t panic, We hope you never have to use the following checklist, but if your car is stolen, we hope it helps:
Someone’s stolen my car! What do I do now?
1. Make sure Your Car Is STOLEN
It sounds silly, but we’ve been there: standing in the spot you’re sure you parked in, panicking, feeling the cold sweat of dread, then remembering you actually parked on the next block, or one level up in the parking garage. So take a minute, breathe, and think. Another possibility: your car’s been towed. You might save yourself some heartache (and paperwork) if you check the police impound before making a stolen vehicle report.
2. Call the police right away
The sooner you report it, the greater the chances of getting your car back. Also, you must have a police report before you can file a claim. Your insurer will ask for the police report to start your insurance claim.
What the police need to know:
- Your insurance policy number or your auto insurance certificate
- Where your car was stolen
- Contact information of anyone who witnessed the theft
3. Call your insurance company
Next, report the theft to your auto insurer to file a claim. Report your car stolen no matter what type of auto insurance policy you have: your insurance company will need to know you aren’t in possession of your vehicle. What happens after you report the car stolen to your insurer depends on what kind of insurance policy you carry.
What your insurer needs to know:
- The police report number
- Your car insurance policy number or auto insurance certificate
- Where your car was stolen
Your claims advisor will check your car insurance coverage and describe the claim process. They’ll also explain what to do to have your vehicle replaced or get the claim settlement you’re entitled to.
Will I get compensation?
Typically, insurers wait about 5 days before confirming that Your Car Is Stolen and not recovered. After that, any compensation you’re eligible for will be paid based on the terms in your policy.
What about the things I left in my car?
Car insurance policies usually cover the vehicle itself and any equipment that’s attached or used to operate the car, like the wheel rims or stereo system.
Other items in your car are typically covered by your home insurance policy. In Quebec, there were more than 22,600 thefts1 of personal items from vehicles reported in 2015. If it happens to you, call your home insurer and file a separate claim for these items. Of course, if you have the same insurance company for your home and car, things are a lot simpler.
Tip: If you insure your home and car with the same company, you can simplify your life and maybe even save some money. Depending on the loss, there’s sometimes only one deductible (whichever is higher). And with just one company handling the claim, it will often be settled faster. If you’re insured with Desjardins Insurance, you automatically get Double Contract Savings.
How will it affect my premium?
Your auto insurance premium is calculated based on a number of factors, including the vehicle model and where you live. If your car is stolen and not recovered, it could affect your premium.
The main elements that influence your premium2:
- The drivers on your policy and their driving experience
- The vehicle model and features
- Where you live
- Your SAAQ driving record
- Any previous accidents and claims
- How your vehicle is used
- The coverage and deductibles you choose
Take matters into your own hands.
If waiting for the police proves too difficult, you can try searching for your car online, in places like Craigslist and other car selling forums. It might be a long shot (especially if you have a pretty common make and model), but finding your stolen car for sale online isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
Finally, if you haven’t already, take a moment to cry, yell, stomp the floor—it helped when you were a kid and something unfair happened, and it’ll help now, too. And keep this number in mind: 87.8
Can I prevent my car from being stolen?
10 tips to help deter thieves:
- Install an alarm system or locking steering wheel bar. It’s true that thieves have strategies to get past these systems, but it will take them longer to steal your car.
- Install a satellite tracking system or engine immobilizer. Anti-theft devices, like anti-theft marking and flashing alert lights, do a good job of deterring thieves.
- Close all the windows and lock all the doors and trunk before leaving your vehicle. Besides, under the Highway Safety Code, you could get a fine for not locking your doors.
- Always park in busy, well-lit areas.
- Hide personal items out of sight or take them with you. Don’t leave valuables in plain view on the seat—it’s an invitation to thieves. This kind of theft often happens because the thief saw an opportunity.
- Turn off any electronics you leave in the vehicle. Some thieves have devices that can detect signals from electronic items, so it’s not enough just to put them out of sight.
- When you park, turn the steering wheel to the side to block the wheels and put the handbrake on. This makes your vehicle harder to steal.
- Some vehicles are more popular with thieves. Something to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a new car.
- Get your vehicle identification number (VIN) etched on the windows. It’s riskier and more expensive to steal vehicles with VIN etchings, because thieves have to erase them before they can sell the car.
- Be extra careful when you’re driving outside the province. Thieves are particularly attracted to vehicles from other jurisdictions because this kind of theft is less risky for them.
Now you know how to keep car thieves at bay and what to do if your car does get stolen! Have any other tips or suggestions for victims of car theft? Tell us in the comments!