What to do if your car is stolen
It’s one of those scenarios you never expect will happen to you, but statistics reveal car theft is prominent in Australia.
Nationally, on average, there were 144 thefts per day in 2017/18 according to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.
The top five makes of stolen cars were Holden Commodore, Nissan Pulsar, Toyota Hilux and Ford Falcon and 53 per cent of cars were stolen from a residence, compared to 26 per cent stolen from a street and ten per cent stolen from a business.
An analysis of QBE claims data reveals we see roughly 40 theft or fire claims per week and over the last two years, theft claims accounted for approximately 3 per cent of all motor claims lodgement, according to Head of Motor Claims, Norm Casamento.
Here’s our guide to steps you may want to take – in order - if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
1. Keep calm
“It’s certainly difficult, but it’s best not to panic if your car is suddenly missing,” says Casamento.
“When people panic, they tend not to think clearly and can sometimes forget about the initial important steps they can take, such as asking other people around the area if they noticed anything unusual or checking if there are any closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras nearby, which will ultimately help the authorities,” he says.
2. Call the police
It’s important to call the police as quickly as possible.
“The sooner you phone the police, the better your chance of getting your car back. This is because they can send word out immediately so police officers on duty can look out for your car,” Casamento says.
When you speak to the police, you’ll need to provide all the information for your car to fill out a stolen car report. Your car’s model, make, colour, year, registration number and VIN number are all required.
A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique, identifying code for your car. No two cars have the same VIN.
“At this point, it’s also important to report to the police any of your possessions that were in the car at the time,” he adds.
3. Call your insurance company
After you’ve contacted the police and filed an official report, the next immediate call should be your insurance provider.
“When you speak to your insurance company, you’ll need to report the details of the theft, confirm your policy number and your level of insurance. You’ll also need you to provide a police report number,” Casamento says.
“QBE has a dedicated team for theft and fire claims, because these types of claims can be more traumatic and emotionally driven. For this reason, we have experts to take care of our customers and help them get through difficult times like these.”
“If you have comprehensive car insurance, it may include the costs of car rental while your claim is being processed. If your stolen car isn’t recovered, you may be able to claim the total cost for which your car is insured for.”
If your car is found but seriously damaged, your insurer may pay for the repairs to get it back in it’s prior condition. However, if the car is considered a write-off, you may receive the cost value for which it’s covered.
4. Contact other important providers
“Be careful to think of everything that was in the car. If there’s a chance there was mail or paperwork with your address and house keys, it’s probably a clever idea to phone a locksmith and get your locks changed,” he adds.
Also, don’t forget to notify your bank if your wallet was left in your car with credit cards.