What To Do When Your Vehicle Gets Stolen

As much as this is not any car owner’s wish, it’s very important to be well prepared with information on how to locate your stolen car when this happens. Vehicle theft is a reality and must be taken important at all times. If you should ask a police officer, you will discover that car theft is a daily occurrence in Nigeria.

So what are the steps to take when this occurs? Below are things to do:

1.) First, Confirm Your Car Wasn’t Towed:

Don’t get alarmed just yet. Cars are commonly towed along Nigerian roads especially if you park at locations where you shouldn’t. Look around and confirm you didn’t park under a “No Parking” sign. If you did, then the city council might have towed it. If you can, contact towing companies in your area and ask if your car was towed. Also walk around the parking lot. It is easy to forget where you parked, and you want to make sure the car has been stolen before taking next steps.

2.) Gather Identifying Information About Your Car:

Stay calm, find a pen and a sheet of paper and write out the following information, which the police will need to find your vehicle:

  • Year, make and model.
  • The colour of your car.
  • License plate number (you must have this information always).
  • The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of your car, commonly known as Chassis number in Nigeria. You must also have this information with you at all times.

3.) Call The Police:

The police will probably have better luck finding the car than you will, so call them as soon as possible. Tell them you want to report a stolen vehicle and provide the necessary information. Make sure to get a copy of the police report and the case number. You will need them for the insurance claim (i.e. if you have an insurance coverage) and other purposes.

4.) Report To Your Insurance Company:

Within 24 hours, you should report the stolen car to your insurance company. Don’t delay. Provide your insurer with the following information:

  • Date and time of theft.
  • Where your car was located before the incidence.
  • Where the keys are located.
  • Names of anyone with access to the car.
  • Detailed description of the car.
  • Description of personal items in the car.
  • The police report.

5.) Check Security Footage:

You will be amazed how many businesses today have recording CCTV cameras mounted within and around their premises. Such businesses are like the commercial banks, fast food eateries, shopping malls etc.  Look around where the car was last parked and see if you can spot any such businesses around. With your police report or the assistance of the police you can try to access this security footage, which could help identify the thief.

6.) Contact Cab Companies:

Cab drivers are almost always on the road, so they are good “eyes” to have looking for your car. You can call up local cab companies and offer a reward for information leading to the recovery of your car. Such company is Uber.

7.) Check For Car Sales Online:

The thief might try to sell your car online. Often, they will post a picture and other identifying information, so you can scroll through pictures and see if any look like your car. There are many online marketplaces for automobiles in Nigeria today. Google Search and you will find them.

8.) Report When The Car Is Found:

Make sure to contact both the police and your insurer if you find the car. Should your car need repairs, your insurer will cover it. Insurers wait about 30 days or so before declaring your car lost. At that point, they pay out the fair market value of the car. This is the amount your car would fetch on the open market. It’s a criminal offence to withhold such information from your insurer. Insurance Fraud can cost you jail time.

9.) Ways You Can Avoid Car Theft:

Preventive measures are equally important so follow these steps:

  • Lock your car always.
  • Always carry your keys with you.
  • Avoid leaving valuables in plain sight.
  • Use an anti-theft device like car alarm, ignition cut-off system, steering lock. Check our store for devices.
  • Install a tracking system.
  • Purchase comprehensive car insurance. You can find good offers here

About Nonso Okafor

I've worked as a technical support representative in major auto centers in Nigeria for more than twenty years. I have dealt with a variety of problems in my capacity as a customer service representative and auto diagnostics expert. I'm committed to assisting people in properly maintaining their automobiles and in appreciating this magnificent innovation known as an automobile.

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