It's gone. You scan the parking lot one more time, hoping against hope that you didn't see it the first 10 times you looked. But it's still not there. You have to face it. Your car has been stolen. You always lock your car doors and keep the windows rolled up, but those are small obstacles to today's thieves. What should you do next? Any time your car is stolen, the first thing you must do is report the theft to the police.
Call your local police department. Make sure you use the number for non-emergencies.
Wait for the police to arrive. The police will come to your location to take a statement from you and to fill out a police report on the theft of your car. Depending on how busy they are with emergencies, it may be a little while before they get there.
Have all the details handy. The police will ask you a lot of questions about when, where and how your car was stolen. Be prepared to give answers that are detailed and accurate. The more information you give, the better equipped the police will be to find your car.
Call your insurance company. Once the police have gone, make sure you report the theft to your car insurance agency. You may be entitled to financial compensation from them, depending on the details of your policy.
Settle in for the duration. The police are investigating the theft of your car. Depending on the circumstances of the theft and the available clues, it could be anywhere from a day or months until they find your car. In some cases, your car may never be found.
- Help others avoid the inconvenience and outrage of having their cars stolen. Get involved with People Against Car Theft (see Resources below).
- Keep the court appraised of your current contact information. As the victim of a crime, you have the legal right to be informed when the car thief's trial is complete, the outcome of the trial and when the thief is released from jail.
- Avoid having your car stolen in the future. Make sure you take appropriate security precautions with your car. Always lock your car doors, never leave the keys in the ignition or the engine running, and keep your windows rolled all the way up when you are not in the car. Keep any money or valuables out of site when you leave the car. You may also want to consider investing in a security device, such as a car alarm.