It’s a scary and heartbreaking scenario when you can’t find your car in the parking lot. No-one wants their car to be stolen.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a car is stolen every 6 minutes in Canada, which equates to about $ 1 billion each year. While your anxiety and mental stress levels can be difficult to control in this situation, having comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy to cover the cost of a stolen car can give you a little peace of mind.
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What to do when your car is stolen?
After a thorough search for your car, the first thing you should do is file a complaint with the police. Make sure that your claims about your stolen car are legit. The police will take the following details from you:
· Your name and contact number
· Make, model, year the vehicle in question
· Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
· Time and Location of where you last saw your vehicle
You will have to wait for a report from the police while they look for evidence that could help them recover your stolen car.
The next step should be to inform your insurance company. They will take the similar details from you that you gave the police. The insurance company will also take the details of the police department with which you registered your complaint, as well as your complaint number.
A representative from your insurance company will call you to explain the full details of your policy. The representative will also give you a schedule for the claim settlement process.
Generally, Insurance companies have a waiting period clause in their auto theft policies because they want to see if the police and the claimant can recover the vehicle. The minimum waiting period can vary depending on your insurance provider.
How is a stolen car insurance claim investigated?
The investigation for any theft claim can be unpleasant and exasperating because the insurance adjuster tries to distinguish your claim from a fraudulent one by asking questions that may bother you.
You should not take the questions personally and help the adjuster in the investigation.
In the case of a stolen car, you can claim the total loss. You will have to agree with the adjuster on the current value of your vehicle minus the deductible. If you have a loan for your car, you need to have your lender sign off on the title. Finally, you need to transfer the title of the vehicle to the insurance company. It means that you will not have ownership of the car if it is found after the claim is resolved.
What if the stolen car is recovered before the claim settlement?
Sometimes vehicles are recovered during the claim process, but the thief may have damaged your car. If you have a comprehensive policy, the insurance company will cover the repairs minus your excess.
However, if the thief stole your car along with possessions like GPS, car seat, laptop, or any other personal belonging, your car insurance won’t cover that loss. Such losses are covered under a homeowner or renter’s insurance.
What are the documents required for a car theft claim?
Along with the details given to the police, you would need to furnish the following information to your insurer:
· Car title document
· Location of all car keys
· Names, contact information, and relationship with everyone who had access to your car
· A description of your vehicle and information about mileage, options, service records, and upgrades
· Details of personal property stolen with your car
· Your finance or leasing company contact details and your account number, if you were paying the car loan
How long does an insurance company take to settle the claim?
If your car is found within a week and there isn’t much damage, your insurer will settle the claim quickly.
However, if the car isn’t recovered in that period, your insurer will offer you the amount corresponding to the market value of the car at the time of the theft. They may wait for 30 days before settling the claim amount.
When can the insurer deny your claims?
Most insurance companies do not insure you for theft resulting from negligence.
They can deny your claims if the adjuster finds out that the driver of your car left the car doors or windows open, left the key near the vehicle, or left the vehicle running and unattended.
Therefore, you need to be cautious while parking your car. You can protect it from theft with little care and common sense.
How can you prevent your car from being stolen?
Your car is your precious possession, and by all means, you would want to protect it from theft or accident. While you may be locking the car doors properly and parking them in a safe zone, thieves nowadays can use smart keys to open your car. Therefore, you should take extra precautions when parking your car in public parking spaces or private ones. Here are things you can do to prevent your car from being stolen:
· Avoid parking in dark and deserted areas
· Ensure that all your car windows are closed
· Do not leave a spare key near your vehicle
· Install an anti-theft device in your car
· Install an immobilizer
· Install a car tracking system
· Don’t leave your valuables in the car
Many insurance companies offer a discount on your comprehensive coverage for having a car alarm. It is a good idea to discuss each aspect of your auto insurance with your insurer at the time of purchase and renewals.
Losing your car in any way is stressful. While you can take precautions to avoid car theft, the felonious act can still take place. Therefore, ensure that you maintain your calm in such situations and immediately inform the police and your insurance company about the theft. A failure in informing the police and the insurance provider on time can lead to claim rejections.