What Happens After Your Car Is Stolen?

Written by gregory hamel
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The first thing a car owner should do when a car has been stolen is notify local law enforcement with the details about the theft, and information about the vehicle. Police use information like number plate numbers, a car's model, make, colour, and other unique features to assist in tracking down stolen vehicles. The police use a variety of methods to locate stolen vehicles, such as tip hotlines and random checks on parked or moving vehicles. When the car is first stolen, the effort put forth by the police force is likely to be at its highest, since the longer a car has been stolen, the less likely it is to be in the surrounding area. The recovery rates of stolen vehicles vary, but the first few days are critical. After a week goes by, the rate of recovering a stolen vehicle drops significantly.

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Likely Uses of Stolen Vehicles

Car thieves steal cars with different purposes in mind. Some thieves simply do not have the resources for a vehicle of their own, and steal a car for personal transportation. Another reason in stealing a car is to use it to commit a crime, such as a robbery. Cars intended for use in robberies may be more likely to be recovered, since the vehicle is likely to be abandoned after the robbery takes place. Other possible fates of stolen vehicles include scrapping the vehicle for parts, or selling the vehicle, possibly in a different country. Stolen vehicles that find their way out of the country are much less likely to be recovered.

Auto Insurance and Car Theft

When a car is stolen, the second thing that the owner should do after notifying the authorities is contacting her auto insurance company. Cars can be insured against theft, but typically theft is covered under the comprehensive portion of auto insurance, the portion that is designed to cover damage resulting from acts of God, such as fires, hail or floods. Each specific auto policy will differ in the way it handles theft, but usually a certain duration must pass to allow for recovery of the vehicle before the insurance company will pay for the lost vehicle. If a vehicle is stolen that does not have the appropriate comprehensive insurance coverage, the owner will not be able to get any money from the insurance company.

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