• Vehicle owners are often left confused on what to do when their cars are stolen.
• Naked offers tips that could ease the stress in such a situation.
• According to the SAPS, around 128 cars are stolen in SA each day.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Returning to an empty parking space where your car was before will inspire a mixture of anger, panic and helplessness in anyone. Car theft is a risk that every car owner faces, with around 128 cars and motorcycles stolen in South Africa each day, according to SAPS annual crime stats for 2019/2020.
If you're unlucky enough to become part of this statistic, having car insurance and knowing which steps to take can help to calm your nerves. AI-driven insurtech Naked, offers these tips:
1. Activate your tracking device if you have one
Alerting your vehicle tracking company as soon as you become aware that your car was stolen vastly increases the chances that your vehicle will be recovered. You may be able to activate the tracking device yourself, or you might need to phone the tracking company. Most of the cars Naked insures don't require trackers to be installed, but they can help reduce your risks for some models.
2. Get to the police station ASAP
You'll need to open a case at your nearest police station to have your car flagged on their stolen vehicle database; you'll also need the case number for insurance. Make sure you have your car's details with you when you go, including the licence plate number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model and colour. You'll find most of the info on your vehicle registration documents. Remember to take a photo of the police report.
3. Report your car stolen to your insurance company
The sooner you tell your insurance company about the theft of your vehicle, the sooner it will start processing your claim, and the sooner you'll be able to get a new set of wheels.
You'll need to submit a few documents during the claims process, including a picture of the police report, the case number, a copy of the vehicle registration, a certified copy of your ID, and a form that gives the insurance provider consent to access the police records and border movements for your car.
You might also be asked for the mileage, your tracking device details, photos of the complete set of keys, and a description of any marks, dents or scratches.
You will want to sort out any money outstanding on your car loan. This involves getting a settlement letter from your bank and forwarding it to your insurer.
The insurance provider will prepare an agreement of loss document detailing how much money is due to you and how much to the bank. Once you have signed off on this document, you will give it to the insurance company along with your car keys and the original registration documents. From there, the insurer will pay off what's left of your car loan and pay the remainder over to you.
Three things to remember:
• The insurance provider will deduct your excess before it pays you.
• If you owe the bank more than your car is insured for, you'll need to pay the shortfall. You can add shortfall cover to your policy to avoid this - something to bear in mind when you're buying a vehicle with financing.
• Some policies let you add a hired car so that you won't be stuck without a ride until your car is replaced.
Here are some other questions insurance customers often ask:
What happens if my car is found before the claims process is complete?
You'll hear from the police or the tracking company, and you will need to tell your insurance provider. It's critically important to get a clearance certificate from the police so that your car can be removed from the stolen vehicle database - else you might have an interesting interaction with SAPS the next time you get stopped in a roadblock.
What happens if my car is recovered after the claims process?
Your insurance company will return any of your stuff found in the vehicle, but not the car. The car will be the insurer's property, and you'll keep your replacement car, provided your claim was approved.
May I claim for my laptop that was in my car?
Your car insurance doesn't cover valuables stolen along with your car. So, if you want to insure your notebook, smartphone, surfboard or designer handbag, it's wise to specify them in your home contents policy or get standalone cover.
Sumarie Greybe is the co-founder of AI-driven insurtech Naked.