Car Insurance Claim: Filing Process For Stolen Car
If you have car insurance, you probably have a policy covering the theft of your vehicle. However, when something happens and your car gets stolen, it’s important to keep your cool and know what to do next so that you can get back on the road as soon as possible. This guide will walk you through the steps of how to file an insurance claim for a stolen car so that you can get back behind the wheel as quickly as possible.
Report Theft Immediately
When you realize that your car has been stolen, notify local authorities as soon as possible. Let them know what happened and provide a detailed description of your vehicle, including its color, make and model. Be prepared to supply relevant information such as a license plate number, engine serial number or other identifying marks. In most cases, you should also be able to tell police whether or not there was anything valuable in your car at the time it was taken. Most importantly, it’s important that you report any theft immediately—the longer you wait, the less likely it is that authorities will recover your vehicle.
Call Your Insurer To Begin Your Car Insurance Claim
The first thing you’ll want to do after a car theft is call your insurer and file a police report. While you can’t file an official policy claim until you’ve filed a police report, it’s worth calling anyway—you never know what information or advice they might be able to provide. Police reports vary in length and detail depending on where you live, but many are detailed enough that insurers won’t require additional information. If yours isn’t detailed enough, or if it doesn’t provide important details like make and model or other identifying features (such as a VIN number), ask your insurer for recommendations on how best to proceed. Police reports cost money but are often refunded by insurers once you’ve completed an official policy claim.
Document the Incident
Depending on where you live, you may need to report car theft or other types of property crime to police. As soon as possible, write down as much information about what happened as you can recall. In particular, try to remember or record: ____ Where did it happen? ____ When did it happen? ____ What was taken? ____ Did anyone get hurt? ____ Do you have pictures or video of the event that could be useful later? ____ What is your current policy number and contact information for your insurer? It’s also a good idea to call 911 when appropriate so law enforcement can begin an investigation into what happened.
File a Police Report
After a car has been stolen, it’s important to file a police report. This step often gets glossed over when people discuss filing an insurance claim after their car has been stolen, but it shouldn’t. In fact, some companies won’t give you an insurance payout unless you’ve filed a police report about your car theft and made an official record of that theft. Even if you have no intention of filing a police report at all (perhaps because you know exactly who stole your car), try to file one anyway. It will help you get on with moving forward from your theft and protect any future claims from being held up or denied because of a lack of paperwork.
Get a Rental Car
You’ll need transportation while your car is being repaired or replaced, and it’s almost always a good idea to have a backup vehicle on hand. If you choose not to get a rental, at least arrange for friends and family members who live nearby to be ready with their own cars in case you need them. If you’re filing an insurance claim, let your agent know about these arrangements ahead of time. Many agents will cover one day of a rental as part of an automobile claim, but others may limit such reimbursements to certain types of vehicles—for example, requiring that rental cars be no more than $25 per day.
File an Insurance Claim
It’s important that you file a police report—this will be needed for filing an insurance claim. When you file an auto theft or car robbery claim, you may have an adjuster come out and evaluate your loss. This person has experience looking at cars that have been involved in accidents and has a sense of their worth, so they can determine whether repairs are possible, or if it’s time to write off your vehicle. Write-offs happen most often when expensive parts have been damaged or safety features cannot be repaired. Again, while adjustments determine what they think is fair value of a written-off car, shop around to get another estimate yourself.
Replace Documents and Licenses
Get replacements for any important documents or licenses you’ve lost. This includes driver’s licenses, passports, social security cards and birth certificates. If you need to replace them in a hurry, most counties will let you pay a small fee and pick up a new license immediately. You might even be able to get an expedited replacement over the phone through certain companies.
Repair the Damage
Even if you aren’t at fault, an accident can still leave you with a huge bill. It makes sense that you’d have coverage on your car, but what about repairs? If you don’t have collision coverage, getting into an accident can end up costing thousands of dollars more than it would have had you been covered. To avoid overpaying for car repairs after an accident, it pays to understand exactly what auto repair insurance covers and how much damage a claim will cover.