Your vehicle has been stolen – what do you do now?

According to FBI crime statistics FBI crime statistics during a given year, roughly 500,000 automobiles are stolen. In 2013, 699,594 total motor vehicles were stolen only in the USA. More than two thirds of those were cars. If you have already become part of these statistics do not worry as there are things you can do and if you lost your car to thieves recently carefully follow the steps below as you still have some chance of getting your nice car back. The US average rate for recovered stolen cars is 46%, but the state-by-state rates of recoveries are greatly different. Washington is the leader in the statistics where 71 percent of stolen cars are returned to their owners.

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Do not panic and think about it for a moment
Was your car really stolen or did you give your keys to your wife or your kid who just got their driver’s licence? It may sound crazy but people often get carried out with the panic and do not think clearly. Did you accidentally park under a “No Parking” sign? Are you behind on any loan or lease payments? Take a moment to make sure there’s no other explanation for the absence of your car.

Call the police!
Now that you have calmed down on though it through and you are sure that your car was stolen, you need to call the police and file a report.  You’ll need to give a detailed description of your vehicle, and if possible, it is helpful to have your vehicle identification number (VIN), registration, license plate number and driver’s license available when you file the report. In many cases, the police will add your vehicle information to nation- and statewide records, which should make it harder for the thief to sell or re-title your car.

Call Your Auto Insurance Company
After you’ve filed a police report, call your insurance company to let them know that your car has been stolen. This is a particularly important step, since informing your insurance provider can help protect you in case your car is used to cause harm or damage after the theft. Try to provide as much information as possible. It helps if you can give a good description of your vehicle, the location of all your keys and a list of any personal property inside the car. If your car is leased or financed, you should also call the lender that you used to purchase the vehicle.

Take matters into your own hands, if needed
If waiting for the police proves too difficult, you can try searching for your car online, in places like Craigslist and other car selling forums. It might be a long shot (especially if you have a pretty common make and model), but finding your car for sale online isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

Finally, if you haven’t already, take a moment to cry, yell, stomp the floor—it helped when you were a kid and something unfair happened, and it’ll help now, too.

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