Over the past few years, there has been an increase in car thefts in Southern Utah. According to Officer Tiffany Mitchell with the St. George Police Department, “This type of criminal activity is completely preventable. Taking two simple steps can help to avoid losing your ride: lock your car and bring the keys with you.” Car thefts are crimes of opportunity, meaning suspects will continue checking doors until one is unlocked, and if the keys are inside, they’ll drive off.
As we know, many car thefts can be prevented purely by making sure keys are not left in the vehicle and the doors are locked. There can still be the error of thought that we live in a safe town, or we don’t have crime here, but that isn’t the case. Don’t let a false sense of security lull you into complacency.
Not all crimes can be prevented. So if your vehicle is stolen, we’ve compiled a list of steps to help you navigation the situation.
- Make sure your vehicle is in fact stolen
There’s always the off chance you parked your vehicle and forgot where it is. Did you park in a towing zone? Perhaps your loved one moved the car to another spot. You should verify that no one borrowed or moved it without your knowledge.
- File a police report
You’ve determined that your car was stolen. Call the police and report the theft. You’ll need to have documentation ready to file the police report:
- Your contact information
- Vehicle make and model
- License plate and VIN
- Year of car
- Date and time you last saw your vehicle
Now, it can be frustrating and stressful to wait for news on your stolen vehicle. But it should be said, don’t go looking for the car yourself as it can be dangerous. Let the police do their job. If you have LoJack or OnStar the police can use these features to determine where your car is located. If you feel you must do something, you can always keep an eye out for Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace listings attempting to sell your stolen vehicle.
- Talk to your insurance agent
You’ll want to make a record that the vehicle was stolen. To file an insurance report, you’ll need the police report number and a copy of the police report to go on file.
You’ll also want to be informed of your insurance policy and coverage. Be advised that most policies will not cover theft. If you have comprehensive coverage, there’s a good chance that theft may be covered, but you’ll want to know what benefits are available as well as your deductible costs that may apply.
The payout for a stolen vehicle depends on your coverage and the situation of theft.
- If vehicle isn’t found, you may get the current market cash value amount minus your deductible.
- If the vehicle is found but damaged, the insurance company may cover the repairs or deem it a total loss if totaled according to your policy.
In the case of stolen property, your auto insurance will only cover what is considered permanent parts or factory installed features of the vehicle. You can work with your home-owners insurance to file a claim for personal property theft for personal items left inside your car when it was stolen.
- Speak to an Attorney
Having your vehicle stolen is very stressful. It’s natural to be upset and irritated by the situation. If you need help understanding your rights, McMullin Injury Law can help. We offer free consultations and will answer your questions and determine the best course of action for your case.