There is no worse feeling than walking out, keys in hand, only to find your vehicle is missing.  Did you know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds?

While auto theft is an extremely frustrating experience, we have some tips to help you deal with the situation:

Assess the Situation
The first thing is to make sure the vehicle was actually stolen and not towed or repossessed.   Basically, you just want to make sure you have no other explanation for the absence of your car.

Call the Police
If you know there is no other explanation, immediately contact the police to file a report.  You’ll want to make sure you can provide a detailed description of the car, your license plate number, and VIN.

Leverage Technology
Many vehicles now include GPS locator systems like General Motors’ OnStar, Toyota’s Safety Connect, and Hyundai’s Blue Link, that can help authorities locate the vehicle.  If you auto is equipped with such technology, be sure to let the police know.

Contact your Insurance Agent
After you have contacted police, contact your insurance agent.  Provide any additional information that will help expedite the claims process like photos of the vehicle and a description of its contents at the time of the theft.  As long as your vehicle as comprehensive coverage, you will receive reimbursement for the vehicle.  How that reimbursement will be determined depends upon your specific policy and coverage.

Stopping Theft Before it Happens
About half of all auto thefts are a result of oversight from the vehicle’s owner.  Make sure to always lock your vehicle and take your keys with you.  Also, avoid leaving your car running, even if it’s just to warm up the vehicle in the winter.   It also helps to park in well-lit areas with valuables kept out of sight.