It’s been a long day at work. You’re tired and just want to go home and relax. But, as you walk toward your car in the parking lot, you notice broken glass by the driver-side window. What do you do next?
According to Nationwide, approximately 1.85 million car break-ins happen each year and more than $1.2 billion worth of personal items are stolen. It can be devastating, but if you follow the right steps you can recover with as little personal damage as possible.
Step One: Call Police And File A Report
Don’t try to clean up or move anything in your car. As soon as you suspect your car has been damaged and broken into, go to a safe place and call the police. When they arrive, they will want a list of what has been stolen. It can be hard to remember everything when you are shaken up, but the more detailed you are the better. WhatHappensNext.com provides a useful checklist to use when you’re talking to the police. Keep a copy of this checklist, as well as a copy of the case number the police officer gives you, the officer’s name and badge number and any phone or contact info he or she provides you with. While the police are there, take photos of the damage. Keeping records of all of this information will help you with the insurance and replacement process.
Step Two: Call Your Insurance Company
Before you call your insurance company, check to see if you are covered for a car break in. While most comprehensive car insurance plans will cover the damage to your car, like shattered glass, a dented door or a broken handle and lock, they won’t cover lost items. According to QuoteWizard.com, you should also call your homeowner or rental insurance company to file a claim for your lost or stolen items. Unfortunately, this means you’ll have to file two separate claims.
When you are filing a claim with your insurance company, have your police report handy as well as your checklist and photos of the damage. The more details you can provide, the easier the process will be and the faster you can repair your car and replace your stolen items.
Step Three: Protect Your Accounts And Private Information
If your wallet, checkbook, private documents or phone was stolen from your car, immediately call your bank or other financial institutions to cancel credit cards, change passwords and alert them that your information was stolen. You should also make note of this in your police report. NerdWallet.com recommends also calling major credit bureaus. They will let you know if any suspicious activity turns up on your credit report. Watch your financial statements for several months to watch for unusual activity and immediately let your bank know if you see something odd.
Step Four: Learn From Experience
Recovering from a vehicle break in can be a hassle, but you can learn from it and prevent another incident. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles recommends taking precautions to protect yourself from being a victim in the future, such as avoiding leaving valuables in plain sight, as these can make your car a target. Always park in a well-lit and populated area, like an attended parking lot or gated garage. Never leave your car running unattended or leave keys in your car. Finally, check with your insurance company to see if they offer a discount for anti-theft devices. Installing one could save you money as well as save you from future break ins.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a vehicle stolen and are looking where to find the lowest rate car loan available, search online at www.OpenRoadLending.com where you can apply in the comfort of your own home and get a loan decision back in a matter of minutes. From there, you are in control of the car buying process.