Who would have thought that 3 SUV's would be stolen in a span of five minutes in broad day light in a city like Mumbai! This incident left surprised not only the owners of the vehicles but also the local police personnel who are investigating the incident. This is not the first time that such incidents have taken place in our country. As each day passes, there are reports across police stations, where FIR reports are being filed about car/bikes being stolen from public places.
In fact, as per a 2012 report by National Crime Record Bureau, India has the world highest vehicle theft cases i.e. every four minutes one car is stolen. To curb such incidents, the police are doing their duty by arresting suspected anti-social elements but it also critical and imperative for car/bike owners to take precautionary measures to avoid such an event with our vehicle.
Let's take a hypothetical example wherein Shyam who has recently purchased a car, goes out with his spouse to watch the last show of a movie at a local theatre in Mumbai. To avoid the cost of parking his vehicle in the mall where the theatre is situated, Shyam goes ahead and parks it in a secluded and unmanned ground close to the mall. Once the movie is over, Shyam and his wife return to the unmanned area and are shocked to find that their car is missing from the location.
Fearing for the worst, Shyam has no option but to approach the local police station to file a report on his car being stolen. Such incidents usually require time for the Police to investigate. However, it is the vehicle owner who has to undergo the mental stress of having lost his priced vehicle even while cooperating with the authorities investing the matter. To avoid or minimize the damage of a similar incident if it were to happen to you, let's look at some preventive measures which car/bike owners should proactively undertake:
- Paid Parking: Though it's a hurdle for car/bike owners in metro cities to find paid parking places, it would be wise to search or plan your social/professional activity wherein you can park your vehicle at a municipality authorized parking area. Do not forget to take the parking tag/valet note, which ensures that the vehicle is under the custody of the authorized parking entity. By doing so, it becomes easy for the police to investigate the incident, since the vehicle was parked under an authority whom they can question.
- Installation of Anti-theft devices: With anti-social elements always on the hunt, it's a wise decision to install anti-theft devices in your vehicle. Insurance companies too vouch for installing anti-theft devices, which can be a crucial aid during times when your vehicle is stolen. As an added incentive, installation of such devices in your car can help you avail a discount on the insurance premium. Some car manufacturers are already providing prefixed anti-theft devices in new vehicles or one can buy them from the local market.
- Check your insurance cover before filing a claim with the insurance company: Vehicle owners especially two wheeler customers show a tendency to opt for the mandatory Third-Party insurance cover instead of the Comprehensive insurance cover. While this may save them with a few rupees, the cover is futile if a claim of stolen vehicle is intimated to the insurance company. This is because Third-Party cover guards the insured from physical losses levied by Third-Party entities in case of an accident. However, by opting for a Comprehensive Insurance cover, you are provided reimbursement of the vehicle's Insured Declared Value (IDV) by your insurance company in instances where the police might not be able to track the vehicle within the stipulated timeline. Comprehensive insurance cover will also cover the damages to your vehicle if it is recovered damaged. It may happen that the thief damages the vehicle interior or parts and abandons it. In such a scenario, the repairs will be covered with comprehensive coverage minus your deductible, subject to the extra features you have added on to your policy. If you are unsure of what your policy covers, make sure to find out by reviewing your policy with your agent or reading up on the subject. Knowing how your policy works before a claim situation arises will relieve you of a lot of stress.
- Documentation: Often car/bike owners store original car purchase papers and insurance copies inside the vehicle. When encountered with an incident of theft, it is a tedious and time consuming activity to get duplicate copies from the car dealer as well as retrieve information from the insurance company, when you do not posses any information on car purchase and insurance policies. To avoid last minute hassles for lapse committed by you, it is be recommended to photo-copy the original documents and store the same in the vehicle. This will ensure that you have all the official papers handy when filing a loss report with the police as well as intimating a claim with the insurance company.
Owning a vehicle is a prized possession for all of us. Seeing it being stolen would be a nightmare for any vehicle owner. Being proactive and complying with the above tips would minimize or lessen the physical and mental burden during such an incident.