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What to do if someone has broken into your car

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Updated 10 Oct 2019

Jason Unrau

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As you approach your car, something seems amiss. Maybe there’s glass on the ground by your driver’s door or your door lock is gaping open where the key should fit.

Your heart jumps into your throat as you realise your car has been broken into.

It’s a terrible feeling when someone has broken into your car - your privacy has been violated and often you go into panic mode and don’t know what to do to pick up the pieces.

Thieves are conniving, they will watch you and take note of your daily habits, or look for an opportune moment to make their move. If you’ve been the target of a vehicle break-in, here’s what you should do.

Call the Police

It’s important to make a police report about the break-in. It helps the police to identify problem neighbourhoods and may assist them in finding the culprit.

Often a car burglar will hit more than one car in an area or will return to the same street days later. A police report may inspire an increased police presence in that area.

It’s not an emergency so don’t call 000 unless the break-in is still in progress. Call 131 444, which is a non-emergency number, to file a police report.

Check for Your Personal Property

Determine what’s been taken from your car. Assess if any valuables have been stolen, particularly purses or wallets with credit, license or ID cards inside them.

Check if any personal vehicle documents have been removed such as your logbook, registration or insurance papers. Also check if your garage door remote has been taken.

If these things are missing, your home may be at risk of burglary. Make sure the authorities know of the missing items and take steps to protect your home.

Look for Eye Witnesses or Cameras

Ask bystanders if they saw anyone near your car, or even if they witnessed the break-in. There’s usually someone who has noticed something, be it somebody lurking around your vehicle or particularly shady behaviour.

Some people won’t openly get involved unless you ask, while others are empathetic and happy to help. It pays to ask.

Check with any nearby stores or offices that may have recorded the break-in on a security camera. It can greatly assist the police to find the suspect if they’ve been caught on film.

Call Your Insurance Provider

Notify your car insurance provider of the break-in as soon as possible. It’s best to call while the details are fresh in your mind.

You may need to take your car for a repair estimate before they will proceed with an insurance claim, so the sooner you get things moving, the better.

Be prepared that you may be required to pay an excess or the whole cost of repair, depending on your insurance policy.

Have Your Car Fixed

Have a reputable mechanic repair your damaged car. While it won’t erase the experience from your mind, it will restore your car back to a usable state.

Deter Thieves from Targeting Your Car Again

If you’ve been the victim of a car break-in, you certainly don’t want to be an easy target again in the future. Here are a few simple ways to deter thieves:

  • Install a car alarm with a light indicator
  • Always lock your doors
  • Keep valuables out of sight
  • Park in well-lit areas

If your car has been hit by vandalism or burglarised, please accept our sympathy.

Visit AutoGuru.com.au to help get your car back in shape. We’ll connect you with a reputable workshop or mobile mechanic that can restore your car back to working order. 

Image credit - Tookapic

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Written By

Jason Unrau

Jason is a Canadian automotive content writer with a background in the auto service industry, but he’s been hooked on cars and mechanics since childhood.

One of his first cars was an ’80 Mazda RX-7 that’s sorely missed to this day. A ’68 Ford Torino GT, a ’66 Ford Country Squire Woodie station wagon, and a ’96 Suzuki GSX-R 750 have spent time in his fleet of cars, bikes, and trucks over the past two decades.

Jason’s pride and joy is under construction – a turbocharged ’88 Mazda RX-7 convertible. Also on his resume is CASCAR official certification.