A car is stolen every 45 seconds in the U.S.
Picture this: you’re relaxing on the couch watching the evening news when you see a car that looks exactly like yours flying down the highway with a fleet of police cars chasing after it. You run out of your front door and find your car isn’t in the driveway; it’s gone and is now the focus of every news station in town.
As the chase continues the rogue driver recklessly hits, side-swipes and rolls over anything in his path. When he’s finally caught and taken into custody, your car has three punctured tires, a missing door, numerous scrapes, scratches and dents, along with broken windows and it even burst into flames.
Or, maybe your car was just one of many that were side-swiped on the highway during the chase. It isn’t totaled, but still has a significant amount of damage.
What’s the chance of this happening to you? According to the FBI, a car is stolen in the U.S. nearly every 45 seconds, so the chances are better than you might think.
What to do first if you’re a victim of a high-speed chase
High-speed chases aren’t just sensational news stories. They can cause thousands of dollars in damage and put lives in jeopardy, so it’s important you know what to do if it happens to you.
If your car is involved in or damaged during a chase, call the police and your insurance company right away.
First, contact your local police station. They can provide you with information on which department is handling the police report. Make sure you get the police report number as you’ll need to give that to your insurance company when you file a claim, along with your policy number, vehicle info, and the date and time of the loss. Any additional information you can gather from the police is helpful, including the year, make and model of other cars involved, their license plate numbers and driver information.
As long are you aren’t involved in the chase because the vehicle was stolen, you will not be liable for damage to the vehicle or anyone hurt during the chase, and your insurance company will be able to help you get back on the road. However, if you allowed another driver to take your car and they get in a high-speed chase, you could still be on the hook for liability expenses.
What happens to your vehicle?
An adjuster from your insurance company will take your statement to confirm the facts of the loss and help you get your car inspected and repaired. Most insurance companies will allow you to choose the repair shop, or some carriers like Mercury Insurance may recommend one of their certified repair shops. When you choose to use a Mercury authorized repair facility, the company will guarantee the repairs for as long as you own the car. This is important, because if there is a problem with the repair down the road and the repair shop is no longer in business then Mercury will take responsibility and get it repaired for you.
If you have comprehensive coverage as part of your policy, the repairs should be taken care of and you’ll only be responsible for the deductible, however, your carrier will work with you to get that back from the responsible party. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, but carry uninsured motorist coverage, there could be some limited coverage available as well.
If your car is beyond repair, you’ll have to say goodbye and look into purchasing another vehicle. Your insurance company can help walk you through that process and may even be able to get you a discount on your new vehicle. For example, Mercury customers can get special rates through TrueCar, so it pays to ask if your company has any similar programs.
You can decrease the risk of car theft by protecting your vehicle with these additional tips.