What to do if your car is stolen?
Picture this- you leave your car in the parking lot early in the morning as you go to your office. In the afternoon, you walk back to where you parked your beloved car only to discover it has been carnapped. So what do you do if your car is stolen?
Carmudi Philippines has compiled some of the steps you should take to either retrieve your car or speed up the process of apprehending the car thieves. These steps should be taken immediately to increase the chance of getting your car back.
Was it stolen or towed?
If your car suddenly vanishes out of thin air there are only two possibilities- it was stolen or towed because you parked illegally. If you are new to the area, you can ask for the number of a local towing or traffic management group. Call them up and ask if they have hauled your car. Upon confirmation that they have it, comply and pay your fines. This, after all, is better than not getting your car back from a gang of criminals.
Inform the authorities
The first thing you should do is call the local police and inform them that your car has been stolen. Provide the authorities with as much detail as possible such as the color of your car, its body type and plate number. Doing so could tip off other enforcers in nearby areas who could spot your car.
According to the Highway Patrol Group (HPG), an average of four vehicles is stolen each day in Metro Manila alone. This was based on the traffic group’s monitoring during the first three months of 2014. The official hotline of the Philippine National Police is 117.
Do a preliminary interview
Let us say you have reported the incident to the authorities. What is next? Interviewing people who could have seen the incident could help you get a picture of how these carnapping groups operate. You can also ask around if any the nearby areas have surveillance or CCTV cameras which may have captured the events as they happened.
The point is not to become disheartened, but to learn from the experience. The fact is, there may have been some negligence on your part which allowed these thieves to take advantage of the opportunity. Make your car more secure next time by installing safety devices and performing simple anti-carnapping practices.
Tell your insurance company
If your car really has been stolen, the next group or agency you should contact is your insurance company. Tell them, basically, what happened and that you have contacted the police and have officially reported the incident. Doing so will at least speed up your insurance claim.
Anybody who has been through this process would recommend that you file this early, as it may take a long time before the company offers you a new set of wheels.
Track using GPS
If you have installed a Global Positioning System (GPS) in your car or it comes as standard, make use of this feature. Track your car and disclose this information to the authorities who have responded to your call. Chances are the carnappers have not noticed this useful feature and have become careless, which could help the police apprehend them.
Some GPS are also connected to your mobile phone which gives a very accurate and updated report of where your car is currently located.
Look for your car online
Stealing your car is the easy part for carnappers. Selling it and keeping it under the radar of law enforcers is the harder part. One possibility is that they may be selling it on online as a used car. Some thieves also assume the identity of private car sellers who provide fake documents to support ownership of the cars they stole.
Look on car selling or trading platforms, beginning with the cheapest estimate you have for your car (if it has ever been sold on the used or second hand market). If your vehicle is a rare model, it will be easier for you to track. Contact the authorities once again if you find your car online, so they can plan an entrapment operation.
As a side note, always make sure to use a reputable site when buying or selling a car. Carmudi Philippines physically checks every vehicle listed on its site so you can be sure that you are always getting a legitimate vehicle.
Start thinking about a replacement
If you think that your stolen car is a lost cause, then it is time to move on and find a replacement vehicle. Make a conscious effort to work out why your car was stolen. It could be that it stood out too much in the area that you parked it or perhaps it was a model that did not have many security features.
When thinking of a new car to buy, make sure it has additional equipment that can make it more secure. Tinted windows, for example, can hide the contents of your car from outside passersby. A car alarm can also alert people that a possible theft is occurring.