Someone Broke into Your Car—Now What?
Seeing your window smashed in, your stuff missing, and your car a mess are perfect reasons to come unglued. But don’t. Panicking never really helps, but the tips below from NerdWallet.com writer Lacie Glover will.
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First step (after not freaking out) is to assess and document the state of your car, which is now an active crime scene; Glover suggests taking pictures and trying to make of a record of what’s missing as soon as possible.
You’ll need to file a police report if you want your insurance to kick in to cover damages and the stolen items, which means you need to alert the authorities.
“If a police officer is sent over, don’t move the vehicle until the officer comes. Or, you may have to file a report at the police station; you can ask when you call,” advises Glover, who also notes that you’ll need identifying paperwork such as your vehicle registration, car insurance ID card, driver’s license as well as a list of what’s been taken and photos of the break-in, if possible.
If your credit cards, debit cards, or paperwork that carried your birthday and address were removed by the thief, you need to take steps to protect your identity and accounts.
“If any items stolen have your address and birthdate, you can place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit record by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Whichever credit reporting company you call will contact the other two, so you won’t have to call all three,” explains Glover. “If any of your credit or debit cards were taken, contact the card issuers or bank immediately to block access to the accounts and get replacement cards.”
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Glover warns that if the cost of the thief’s handiwork totals less than your deductible, your insurance won’t be sending you a check and with every claim you file, you run the risk of raising your rates.
In order to prevent your car’s break-in turning into a Groundhog Day situation, Glover recommends getting your car fixed as soon as possible.
News Source: NerdWallet, Inc.