You wake up in the morning, get dressed, and enjoy at least one steaming hot cup of coffee before heading out the door to work. As you walk to your vehicle, you notice the broken glass in the road. Your heart sinks as you realize the side window of your beloved car has been shattered, and a quick glance tells you your iPod, CDs, roadside repair kit and other items have been stolen.
This experience will leave you feeling understandably angry and frustrated, and probably unsure of what to do next. Fortunately, car break-ins are not an everyday occurrence, so most drivers are not generally knowledgeable about the steps to take when their vehicle is burglarized. The following four tips are important to keep in mind after a break in:
Leave things as is, and call the cops
Although your knee-jerk reaction is probably to open the car door and start cleaning up the broken glass and other damage, Nerd Wallet suggests you should leave everything as you found it, and call the police. Depending on where you live, an officer will be dispatched to your home to make a police report, or you might have to travel to the nearest station to speak with someone. If the officer comes out in person, he or she will probably want to look over the car and get whatever evidence has been left at the scene. Be sure to obtain a copy of your police report, as you’ll need it to file an insurance claim.
Call your insurance agent
The second person you should call after experiencing a vehicle break-in is your insurance company. As Q104 notes, in many cases, the damage to your vehicle will probably be covered under your vehicle insurance policy after you pay your required deductible. Unfortunately, as an article on QuoteWizard explains, your auto insurance policy will not cover your laptop, iPod, expensive jacket or anything else you left in the vehicle. However, it’s still worth mentioning the stolen items to your agent to see if your homeowners or renters insurance will possibly cover their replacement.
Make sure your identity is secure
If you left your wallet in your car and it’s now long gone, it’s time to get busy and start calling your bank and credit card companies to report the break-in and arrange for your various accounts to be canceled. If your driver’s license is gone too, you’ll have to set aside some time in your schedule to do to the local MVD for a new one. Just to be on the safe side, sign up for a free credit check as well as a fraud alert. It can be extremely stressful to realize that your wallet or purse has been taken, so sit down, take some deep breaths and make a careful list of every credit and bank card that was stolen; this will help ensure you don’t forget to call anyone until it is too late.
About the Author: Allie Grossman is an auto expert, tech blogger, and horror film buff.