Someone smashed your window and stole your radio. Or maybe you left your key fob in the car (ah, the pitfalls of convenience!) and a thief took advantage of the opportunity. Or maybe you don’t even know what happened to your car—it just vanished, like your first paycheck each month.
Dealing with a car theft is one of the most stressful, intimidating and, quite frankly, terrifying situations a person will go through. Who do you call? Was your vehicle towed or did someone really steal it? Did you leave the doors unlocked? Are you still in danger? Do you need to cancel any credit cards? The list of worries goes on and on.
Take a breath and do a mini-meditation sesh. It was just a car, and you’re safe—at least once your heart rate drops into a normal human range. These steps will help you get through the ordeal and, with any luck, find your stolen car.
10 Things to do After Your Car is Broken Into or Stolen
Reporting a stolen car to the police is, of course, the first action to take, but what else should you do if your vehicle gets stolen or broken into? After you call the cops, jump on this to-do list.
Make a list of what’s missing
If your vehicle was outright yoinked, this won’t apply. But if someone broke your window and ransacked your vehicle, you’ll want to assess what’s missing. Write down every possible item that was stolen, and be as detailed as possible—that will help your insurance claim and police report.
For instance, if your radio was stolen, don’t just write down “Radio.” Put the model number in there, the manufacturer, the features it had, the purchase price. Whatever you remember off the top of your head, jot it down, even if it’s as a reminder for yourself to double-check later.
Make a list of what’s broken
Next, you’ll want to assess everything that the car thief broke. Damaged windows, side mirrors, radio or any tech, seats, and windshields are easy to spot, but don’t forget about some of the outer components of your car, some of which aren’t visible at first glance.
If you know what you’re looking for, check to see if that’s been stolen. Not sure? Time to have your car towed to your nearest auto body shop or service center for an inspection. They’ll be able to determine how extensive the damage is.
Call a tow truck
Unless you just have a broken window, you’ll want to call a tow truck. In any case, you should have your vehicle inspected at a collision center or repair shop. They’ll help with the repairs and work with your insurance company.
Cancel your accounts (if necessary)
If you think that you’ve left any important documents or items in your car, like bank statements or even your purse or wallet, you’ll want to call and cancel any open accounts, pronto. This includes credit cards, bank accounts, debit cards, your Yuzu Miami loyalty card, and even your driver’s license.
“My driver’s license? Really?”
With a driver’s license number, identity thieves can do more damage than you realize. Not only do they have your name and home address—yikes—but they can also use your license to avoid speeding tickets and other traffic violations. Those violations aren’t thrown away, either; they’re put on your record, and you have to pay for them.
A simple call to your DMV will point you in the right direction. This will usually include filing a fraud report, getting a new license and license number, and correcting your driver’s license information with any other agency that uses it, like your insurance. (Oh, and you should consider getting your home locks changed, just in case.)
Freeze your credit
Similarly, if any form of identification has been stolen, like your social security number, consider placing a freeze on your credit reports until you can sort everything out and get new accounts issued.
Start at identitytheft.gov and go from there.
Gather documents and file an insurance claim
Now you need to file a car theft claim with your insurance. It’s best to have all your ducks in a row here. Speak with your agent and have your detailed list of missing items ready, as well as your vehicle’s certificate and title, your auto financing or auto leasing company, your police report number, and all the names and contact information of people who have easy access to your vehicle.
File your claim. Wait. Let the process unfold.
Contact your auto loan or lease company
Inform your car lease or financing company (or bank) that your vehicle has been stolen. They will work with your insurance to get the claim process going and pause any ongoing monthly loan payments. You may still owe money on your loan if you don’t have gap coverage or are “upside down” on the loan, so beware.
Check with neighbors and businesses
With advents like Ring doorbell cameras and wireless CCTV video surveillance, it’s almost as if everyone is on video, 24/7. That’s not great if you’re afraid of Big Brother, but it’s good for you. Ask any nearby businesses or neighbors if they have recordings that might show your car thief in action. (The police may already be on this, but it doesn’t hurt to go over their work.)
Prepare for the possibility that your car isn’t coming back
Nationally, 6 out of 10 stolen cars are recovered, which is a better recovery rate than nearly every other stolen item. So, the odds of finding your stolen vehicle are in your favor—just don’t bet on it. Keep your rental vehicle for as long as you’re able, then move on to greener pastures (aka. get another car). Consider it a literal new lease on life.
Need a new vehicle in Miami? If you’ve been the victim of a thief, we’d be happy to help you save on a new Honda or pre-owned vehicle to fill that void. With a new Honda, you get security features like Smart Entry with Walk Away Auto Lock, which ensures you never have to hit the “lock” button on your key fob again. Just keep it in your pocket and get on with your life.
Which plays into our final tip…
Protect your next vehicle from theft
Honda’s Smart Entry with Walk Away Auto Locks is just one new piece of technology that prevents wannabe car thieves from becoming bonafide car thieves.
Loud, audible alarm systems, like those equipped on all Honda vehicles, are good to have, especially when paired with visible deterrents (window decals or blinking red lights).
Vehicle immobilizers are also an option. If your car is stolen, either via keyless entry car theft or by hotwiring, you can simply “kill” the car’s engine.
Tracking systems will help check a stolen vehicle’s location, which you can then provide to the police. (Never confront a car thief without notifying the police of your stolen car search result!)
Heck, you can even put a baby monitor in your car. (Yes, a BABY monitor!) Put it under the seat and keep the receiver in your bedroom. If a thief tries to break into your car, you’ll hear it right away.
Of course, always park your car in a well-lit area on a busy street, don’t leave your windows open, and never keep a spare key near your car. Even tech can’t beat common sense.
About South Florida Honda Dealers
With over a dozen convenient locations throughout the area, your South Florida Honda Dealers offer a great assortment of new and used Honda vehicles for sale, all at prices you couldn’t dream of. Get a quote online, schedule a service appointment, or simply contact your nearest Honda dealership near Miami to speak with a member of our sales team.