With rising summer gas prices, pre-vacation vehicle checks and maybe a routine oil change, the last thing you want to deal with right now is car theft. Unfortunately, July and August are the most popular times for car thieves to steal valuables out of your car… or just the car itself! July has thus been dubbed Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, so here are some tips on how to avoid getting broken into (and what to do if it’s already too late!).
Avoid Being a Victim:
About half of vehicle theft can be easily prevented by you! Take extra precaution to close all your windows and lock your car. Don’t leave keys or valuables in the car, especially in plain sight. Keep your car in the garage if possible, and always park in a well-lit area. Avoid keeping the title to your vehicle in the car, since a thief with a title can sometimes get away from the police. Simple things like pointing your wheels towards the curb or using the parking brake can make your vehicle more difficult to tow, or at least slow them down!
Your Car is Stolen:
If your car is stolen, act fast! Around 40 percent of stolen vehicles are never recovered. Colorado is number 17 on the ranking of states with the highest vehicle theft rate. The top five include Washington, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Hawaii (so be careful while on vacation!). If you suspect that your car was stolen, file a stolen vehicle report with the police immediately. Contact your insurance company within 24 hours to file a claim. You’ll need a copy of the police report for your insurance claim.
Your Car is Broken Into:
If your car wasn’t stolen but was broken into, your first step is to call the police. Next, don’t touch anything, but take photos and start making a list of items that were stolen. Find proof of ownership to help with the insurance claim. Things such as receipts, credit card statements and pictures of any items that were stolen will come in handy. If you buy replacement items, keep the receipts so you can be reimbursed the correct amounts. Don’t forget to deactivate any stolen cellphones or credit cards.
Of course, the hope is that you never have to deal with car theft because it doesn’t exactly make for a fun day. So take steps to prevent car theft, but if it does happen, stay calm and act quickly! Car thieves can move fast, so you should too. Good luck, and stay safe this summer!