Motor Vehicle Theft
I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto car accident lawyer. Most of us depend on our motor vehicles as our primary means of transportation and even a fundamental part of our lives. The thought of falling victim to vehicle theft rarely comes to mind. With the influx of vehicle theft in Modesto and surrounding areas, many may be unsure of how to protect themselves. To learn more about how to prevent motor vehicle theft, please read our detailed article below.
Vehicle Theft Statistics
Motor vehicle theft occurs more often than we think. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that approximately 765,484 vehicles were stolen in the United States in 2016 alone. The cost of vehicle theft accounted to $5 billion in 2015 and increased to nearly $6 billion in 2016. More than 40 percent of all vehicle thefts were determined to be a result of driver error.
Watch YouTube Video – By SaferCarTV – Preventing Vehicle Theft
The following video by SaferCar.gov, powered by NHTSA, discusses the steps in preventing vehicle theft and what to do if your vehicle is stolen.
Protecting Your Vehicle
There are numerous ways to prevent vehicle theft. To protect your vehicle against theft, please be sure to review and exercise the following steps:
- Avoid leaving your vehicle running and unattended
- If you own an older vehicle, invest in a steering wheel lock and anti-theft system
- Keep valuables out of sight in your vehicle
- Lock all your doors and windows every time you leave
- Never leave the vehicle title inside
- Park in well-lit areas, preferably in the vicinity of camera surveillance, if possible
- Take your vehicle’s key and all valuables with you when you leave your vehicle
If you ever find yourself in a situation involving a carjacker, never resist. Automobiles can be replaced, but your life can’t.
Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles
The most commonly stolen vehicles in 2016 include the following:
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Chevrolet Silverado
- Toyota Camry
- Ford F-150
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Corolla
- Ford F-250
- Ford Econoline
- Chevrolet Impala
If you are an owner of the above-mentioned vehicles, it may be a good idea to equip comprehensive coverage on your automobile insurance policy. This type of protection pays to have your vehicle fixed less the deductible you select. The deductible is the amount of money you feel comfortable paying out of pocket in the event of theft, vandalism and other damages. This coverage is optional and must be requested.
States Susceptible to Vehicle Theft
According to NHTSA, a vehicle is stolen every 46 seconds in the nation. The top 10 states with the most vehicles stolen are as follows:
Holiday Vehicle Theft Statistics
It is no surprise that vehicle theft occurs frequently on holidays as owners leave their cars unattended to spend time with friends and family. A 2016 report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) concluded that the holidays with the highest number of thefts were:
- Halloween – 2,578
- Labor Day – 2,258
- New Year’s Day – 2,242
- Memorial Day – 2,139
- New Year’s Eve – 2,110
- Independence Day – 2,086
- Christmas Eve – 2,054
- President’s Day – 2,008
- Valentines’ Day – 1,789
- Thanksgiving – 1,777
- Christmas Day – 1,664
The NICB also indicated in the 2016 report that the state with the most vehicle thefts during the holidays was California with 5,285.
Reporting Vehicle Theft
It is stressful to realize that your vehicle is not where you left it. It happens to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country on a daily basis. The steps in reporting vehicle theft include:
- File a stolen vehicle report immediately with your local police department
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of your loss
- Report the vehicle stolen to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Contact the police and your insurance company immediately if you find your vehicle before they do
Before reporting your vehicle as stolen, be sure that your car was not impounded for lack of loan payment or towed due to parking violations.
Personal Injury Claims in Stolen Vehicle Accidents
Vehicle theft remains a common crime in California. Some of the traffic accidents throughout the state are commonly caused by negligent individuals who have taken another party’s vehicle without their consent. Generally, the insurance policy of the stolen vehicle declines liability for the accident as their insured did not cause the collision. The likelihood of a vehicle thief having an insurance policy of their own is slim to none, leaving a victim clueless as to how they will be compensated for incurred damages. In such circumstances, a victim may fall back on their own insurance policy if they have Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist Protection (UM). Policyholders of this coverage may be compensated for their losses in auto accidents with:
- Hit-and-Run Drivers
- Motorists with Minimal Insurance Policy Limits
- Phantom Vehicles
- Uninsured Drivers
When a victim has suffered injuries in an auto accident caused by the driver of a stolen vehicle, the victim may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim. It is important to contact a seasoned Modesto car accident lawyer to protect your rights and secure just compensation in your claim.
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Modesto Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto car accident lawyer. A stolen vehicle accident can result in serious repercussions. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please call me at (209) 227-1931 for free, friendly advice. I can also be contacted at (800) 404-5400.
Since 1982, I’ve assisted Modesto families with retrieving fair compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death cases.
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