What to Do If Your Car Gets Broken Into
Dealing with a car break-in can be stressful. Here are five things you should do in the event a thief breaks into your vehicle.
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Take pictures and list stolen items
With any break-in, it’s important to document damages with photographic evidence. You’ll also want to write down which items got stolen from your vehicle. This is for the police report as well as the insurance claim (if you file one). The Balance suggests keeping a disposable camera in your car in case your smartphone gets stolen.
Call the police
Next, call local law enforcement to file a police report. Typically, they’ll send an officer to your vehicle’s location, so avoid moving it. Though, in some cases, you might have to go to the police station to file the report in person. To file a police report, you’ll need to have pictures of the damages and a list of the objects stolen, as well as the following items: vehicle registration, and car insurance ID card, and driver’s license.
Contact your bank and credit card carriers
If your wallet got stolen, call your bank and credit card carriers to freeze your accounts. This will prevent identity theft in the event that the thief has your ATM or credit cards in their possession.
Call a credit bureau to place a fraud alert on your credit report
If you kept any documents with your address and birthdate on them in your car and they’re missing after the break-in, call one of the following three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. They can place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit record to prevent the thief from opening a line of credit under your name and racking up debts.
Repair your car
Depending on what type of insurance you have, it’s common to file an insurance claim to help cover the expense of car repairs. Per Nerd Wallet, if you have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, the carrier will reimburse you for repair costs. For stolen belongings, however, you should file a claim with your homeowners or renters insurance. They’ll typically cover any object stolen from the vehicle as long as it’s not permanently attached to your vehicle (e.g. a stereo system).
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Whitney Russell is a current resident of Dayton, though her spirit can be found beach-bumming in Puerto Rico (the land of her half-Puerto Rican heritage). When not adventuring through the exciting world of car news, she can be found hiking with her husband and their two dogs, motorcycling, visiting her cute nephews and nieces, discovering new memes, reorganizing and/or decorating some corner of the world, researching random things, and escaping into a great movie, poem, or short story. See more articles by Whitney.