While Australia can offer a good standard of living and is home to many cities that rank high on liveability, The Lucky Country unfortunately has one of the highest rates of vehicle thefts in the world. It is believed that a car is stolen somewhere in Australia every 12 minutes!
But it’s not all bad news, as a majority of stolen cars are recovered. So how do you increase the chances of getting your vehicle back or replaced in the unfortunate event that it’s stolen? There are a few simple steps to take as soon as you notice it’s gone.
What do you do if your car is stolen?
Having your car stolen can be scary, but fortunately there are steps you can take if the worst does happen.
1. Call the police. An important first step is to call the police and give them all the information about your car – the make, colour and registration number. The police will then alert patrolling officers to keep an eye out for a vehicle matching the description. While you wait for police to arrive, consider talking to locals to see if anyone spotted anything strange around where you parked your car. Once the police arrive, they’ll assist you in filling out a stolen car report that should include your car’s make, model and licence plate number. This is also the time to inform them about any valuables that were in the car, as well as if any of your neighbours saw anything, as they might be spoken to by the police, as well.
2. Talk to your insurance provider. If your vehicle was insured, you'll need to call your insurance company and inform them about the theft immediately to start the stolen car insurance claim process. This is also important if your policy has a temporary replacement clause, which means the insurance provider may provide you with a replacement vehicle, so you're not left without transport until your car is found. Your insurance company will require a copy of the police report, so share it with them as soon as you get it. Informing your insurance provider should also protect you against any accident the thief gets into while driving away with it, and will guard you against any potential damages arising out of said accident.
3. Inform your bank. Did you have any valuables in your car? If you’ve lost important personal items, such as your wallet, you may need to contact your bank and cancel any credit or debit cards. Also, if your house keys were in the car, don’t forget to arrange for a locksmith to change your locks at home.
4. Inform your lender. Is the car fully paid-up, or do you still owe money on it? In many cases, your insurance provider will contact the lender directly and pay the claim to them rather than to you. Hence it is more efficient if the communication is between those two parties rather than being routed through you. Be sure to let your lender know about the stolen car yourself, though.
5. Ask for a replacement. If your car isn’t found, or it’s badly damaged upon recovery, you will likely want something new. Your insurance policy may be able to help you with a replacement, depending on the terms of your policy.
What does insurance cover if your car is stolen?
Having car insurance is an advantage in the instance that your car is stolen, but only if you have third-party fire and theft cover or a comprehensive policy. Keep in mind, a basic third party car insurance (CTP) does not cover theft.
How do each of the policies help you if your car is stolen? While both policies cover theft, there are a few small differences. Here is a list of common things that are often covered by both:
- Getting you a temporary replacement car until your car is found
- Towing charges may be taken care of if your car is found damaged
- Paying for any repairs if your car is damaged but not destroyed
- Paying for a totalled or unrecovered car, depending on the mutually agreed value at the time of buying the policy
- Your policy may take care of emergency accommodation and transport if you are left stranded
A comprehensive policy will likely go the extra mile to:
- Pay for the contents in your car (up to a fixed amount)
- Provide you with a brand new car of the same make and model. This is within a stipulated period and only if your vehicle was brand new when you bought it.
- Pay for replacement keys