Halloween is Coming: Be Sure to Lock Your Cars

Halloween is approaching, and it's open season for car thieves. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), car thefts happen at an above average rate on All Hallows Eve. Of the 5 Halloweens between the years 2011 and 2015, 4 had above average car theft rates. In 2011 and 2015, the rate was nearly double the average. What should you do if your car is stolen? Here are a few tips:

Call the Cops First, then the Insurance Company

The first thing to do if you think your car is stolen is a no brainer -- call the cops. That may seem obvious, but it cannot be overstated how crucial this step is. Any delay in filing a police report will make it a greater hassle for you down the line when you are looking for your car insurance company to reimburse you. We talk more about this in the next section though. After the police report is filed, you will want to call your car insurance company. You will need to give them specific details about the car, like the mileage on it, what was inside it, who has access to it, and the location of all remaining keys.

Filing A Claim

The next step is to file a claim. You will need to have the right insurance to do that however. To be reimbursed for a stolen car, you will need to have comprehensive insurance on your policy. Essentially, comprehensive covers damages to your car caused by external forces. Be it a baseball through the windshield, vandalism and, yes, stolen cars. If you do not have the coverage, your insurance company will not be able to reimburse you for the car, leaving you to buy a new one on your own. You should consider adding this coverage to your policy, especially since it is not very expensive. In California for example, a 30 year old male driver can get comprehensive coverage for only an extra $7.20 a month.

After Filing a Claim

If you did have comprehensive coverage, and you filed a claim, the best you can do now is wait. Police will attempt to find your car. It is more likely they will not recover it, meaning your car insurance company will have to reimburse you. They do not take this lightly however. Fraud is relatively common, so they are going to make sure your car was truly stolen. That is why it is essential you report the incident right away, and your police report is as accurate as possible.

If your report was clear and open, there should be no problems getting reimbursed for the car. You will be given an amount equal to the value of your car at the time it was stolen. In the mean time, you may have to drive a rental car. If you have you rental car reimbursement coverage, your company will take care of the cost of the car for a certain amount each day.