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Although we don’t hear about it on the news, car theft is quite common in South Africa. SAPS reports show that almost 128 cars and motorcycles were stolen a day.

Knowing what to do when you find an empty parking spot where your car used to be can ease the panic, and help you navigate this stressful event calmly.

YOUR CAR HAS JUST BEEN STOLEN. HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

1. Immediately activate your tracking device

Depending on your type of device, you could activate it yourself or you might need to call your tracking company to get it done. Give them a call to make sure they are aware of the theft.

2. Report your car stolen to the police

The police will open a case and flag your car on their stolen vehicle database.

3. Report your car stolen to your insurance company

The sooner you let your insurance company know about your car being stolen, the better. This will set the claims process into motion and get you back on the road as soon as possible.

After your insurer has received all of the information about your car they will start processing the claim.

Unfortunately, without a tracker installed, the chances of getting your car back are pretty slim. Having a tracking device is very important.

The next step is for your insurer to settle the outstanding amount on your car loan

Once your claim has been given the all clear, your insurer will ask you if you have an outstanding loan with a finance house. If you do, you will need to request a settlement letter from your bank and forward it to your insurer. From there, your insurer will prepare the agreement of loss document which tells you how much will be paid to you and/or your bank.

You’ll need to sign the agreement of loss document and send it back to your insurer along with your car keys and the original registration documents.

Please bear in mind that your insurer legally has to settle the loan first before paying any remaining amount to you.

The amount paid out will be the value of your car minus your excess. The amount you receive will depend on whether your insurer has insured your vehicle for trade, market or retail value.