There’s nothing amusing about being the victim of a car theft. While there are no absolute guarantees, there are a number of strategies that you can take to minimize the risk of having your car stolen — or increase the probability of recovering your stolen vehicle.
Gone in 60 Seconds
There are common sense measures that you can take to reduce the risk of your car being stolen, such as parking in well-lit areas and securely locking your car even when you will only be “gone for a minute.” Extra diligent measures to prevent theft include equipping your car with an alarm or recovery system. Nonetheless, auto theft can and does happen in spite of the most state-of-the-art precautions. When that occurs, the you'll be left saying “Where is my car?” with a sinking realization that your car has been stolen.
According to recent polling by Gallup, 56 percent of Americans claim to “rarely” or “never” worry about car theft. But car theft is more common than many people realize. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a car is stolen every 44 seconds. Even worse, there is only about a 50 percent chance that a stolen car will ever be recovered. Despite these statistics, there are measures that can be taken to increase the odds that you will be among the fortunate car owners whose stolen vehicles are recovered.
What to Do When It’s Gone
If you realize your car has been stolen, take action immediately. The sooner that you implement constructive strategies to recover your car, the better the odds are that you'll get your vehicle back in good working condition.
First, ensure that your car has actually been stolen. It may seem silly, but it is often the case that “stolen” cars have not been stolen at all. Instead, one or more of the following admittedly embarrassing or maddening scenarios may apply:
- Forgotten parking spot
- Towed away
If your car has indeed been stolen, call the police immediately. Be prepared to provide the following information to enhance efforts to recover your vehicle:
- License plate number
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Vehicle make, model, year and color
- Distinctive features, including items inside the car, damage or aftermarket details
- Suspicious activity or individuals seen immediately before the car was stolen
You should also inform your insurance company about the theft. The claims adjuster will need a copy of the police report or your case number to begin processing your claim. In the meantime, you can take measures such as checking sales sites like Craigslist or Stolen 911, where stolen property often turns up.
If you see a listing for a car that might be yours, check for distinctive features to be sure. A photograph may confirm that the listing is your stolen car. However, many thieves avoid posting photos, but may provide clues in the description of the vehicle, such as aftermarket modifications or distinctive paint colors.
If you’re at least reasonably sure that a car listed online is indeed your stolen vehicle, your first instinct may be to attempt to recover the car yourself. While that’s understandable, engaging with a car thief may be dangerous. Instead, call the police immediately, and provide law enforcement with the information that you’ve uncovered. They are in a much better position to recover your vehicle safely — and in one piece.
Protecting Your Car with an Aftermarket Vehicle Warranty
In addition to protecting your vehicle from theft, it’s also important to safeguard your car against breakdowns and costly repairs. Along with basic maintenance, such as regular oil changes and shielding your car from the elements, investing in an aftermarket vehicle warranty from Protect My Car is money well spent. Our extended warranty protection can cover expensive repairs once the factory warranty on your vehicle expires. Without protection, repair or replacement costs can make you feel like you’ve been robbed!
Act Sooner Rather than Later
Your car is more than a means of getting from point A to point B. That realization is often made painfully clear when your car has been stolen. Taking common sense strategies now can minimize the risk of car theft. If your car is stolen, assertive action can help ensure that your car is recovered safely. In the meantime, protecting your car with an aftermarket vehicle warranty from Protect My Car can shield your out-of-warranty car from expensive repair costs.