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Having your car stolen is one of those things that we all assume happens to other people but never to us. The unfortunate truth is that this can befall anyone. So, what do you do if you find yourself the victim of car theft? We’ve got some car safety tips to help you in this situation.

Take steps to prevent your car from being stolen

Whether you live in a big city or prefer a small town, it’s important to take steps to make sure your car isn’t stolen. While you may assume you’ll need to spend money on expensive anti-theft devices, it only requires a few simple steps.

Erie Insurance recommends that you keep your keys on you at all times. Leaving your keys in the car may seem convenient, but it only simplifies a thief’s job.

Locking up your car will also help deter some thieves. They’re looking for an easy steal, and an unlocked door is one less hurdle for them to deal with. Parking in well-lit areas and making sure your valuables aren’t readily visible are also cheap but straightforward ways to protect your vehicle.

If you have the money to spend, purchasing a car alarm or an anti-theft system are great ways to deter thieves. Many automakers include these on their vehicles already, but there are aftermarket accessories you can purchase. These include but are not limited to fuse cut-offs, immobilizers, and wheel locks. A determined car thief can find ways around items like these, but most will be in a hurry. 

So, what do you do if you’ve taken all the precautions, but your car still gets stolen? You should take three steps, starting with a phone call to your local law enforcement.

1. Call the cops

Red and blue flashing police lights, who it's recommended to call in the event of a stolen car/car theft
Red and blue flashing police lights | Fernando Salazar/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

This should be the first step you take once you realize your car has been stolen. The more information you can give the police, the more likely you will get your vehicle back. There’s no guarantee on this, unfortunately.

Some of the things you’ll need to know include the make and model, the color, identifying features such as those beloved bumper stickers, and the VIN. They may also ask about your insurance information, which leads to the next step you’ll take.

2. Call your insurance agent

Calling an insurance agent is never fun, and this call will be no different. However, your agent will be your biggest ally. 

They’ll want to know who the lender is for your vehicle, if it hasn’t been paid off, and if you have a spare set of keys. They’ll also need to know where the car was stolen and will require a copy of the police report.

Answer the questions with as much detail as possible with help. Whether you get your car back or not, your agent will ensure the vehicle is paid for. 

3. Call your lender


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Calling the cops and your insurance agent are probably at the top of your list, but many people may not consider their lender. However, this is an essential step you must do as soon as possible.

Even though your car has been stolen, this doesn’t mean you’re immediately cleared from making payments on it. Whether it’s a bank, credit union, or even the dealer, they’ll still expect you to pay for the car.

Your insurance company will pay the lender directly, but you must let the lender know it was stolen. That way, they know to expect a payment from the insurance company instead of you.