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Car Stolen - Any Advice

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#1 of 14 WillG



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Posted November 26 2005 - 01:07 PM

Today, my fiancee (Yes, just recently engaged) and I discovered that her car was stolen. Right out of our condo parking lot. I know it happens to a lot of people, but it was just surreal walking outside about to go on a simple trip to the grocery store and saw her empty space. It was a '95 Nissan Maxima. 10 years old, obviously, but still in great shape. Anyway, we called the police and the insurance company and got all that rolling. But is there anybody here who this has happened to who can give any advice as to how to make the whole process as painless as possible. What is the proceedure for personal posessions that were inside the car? (I lost an entire book of my top tier CDs and all my Calvin and Hobbes books which meant alot to me and were one of the last things we brought over from my old place but was too lazy to remove from the car. Thankfully just the other day, she removed all the Christmas gifts she had already bought.) If anyone could lend any advice, it would be greatly appeciated.
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#2 of 14 Brian Harnish

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Posted November 26 2005 - 02:40 PM

Edit: Congrats on the engagement!! Posted Image

I had a similar situation happen at my old apartment. I ended up having my car broken into and a thousand dollars worth of stuff stolen out of my car. They attempted to steal my car (my ignition was completely torn up), but luckily something prevented them from getting away with it fully.

Here's a list of what was taken:

$300 set of Golf Clubs my dad gave to me (as you can imagine, I was seriously PISSED about these).
$200 Car stereo system (cd player).
$500 worth of CDs.

The ensuing problems with theft of my identity information (which I kept in my glove compartment -- NO MORE will I leave that info in my glove compartment) was not fun, either. As you can imagine, I have an alarm on my car now. They'd be stupid to attempt to break into my car with that.

Unfortunately, unless you have homeowners or renter's insurance, your valuables will not be able to be recovered (at least with a cash settlement; at least that's how my insurance company operated). Unless, of course, it's a car stereo system (at least that's the way it was with my insurance company). Automobile insurance (at least with my company) does not cover theft of other stolen articles from your car. I ended up finding that out the hard way.

So, you may be able to obtain the cash for recovering the stolen items if you have homeowner's insurance. Otherwise, though, you may be out of luck. I don't have experience on the stolen car side of the issue, however. So I imagine your insurance company MIGHT give you the Kelley Blue Book value of the car, but not much more. I'd contact your insurance agent for more information on what's covered and what you can obtain.

Oh, and I'd also contact a good lawyer if your insurance company doesn't go to bat for you and attempts to low-ball you on everything. Just in case.

#3 of 14 WillG



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Posted November 26 2005 - 03:10 PM

Thanks for the advice, Brian. Fortunately, we do have homeowners, so I may be able to recover some of the value of my CD collection that way. The CDs were in a book and I still have all the cases in my home if that would be proof to an insurance company. Hopefully this will all turn out for the best somehow.
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#4 of 14 Patrick Sun

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Posted November 26 2005 - 05:02 PM

Claims under home owner's insurance should only be made for catastrophic damage. If the deductible is close to the replacement cost of the CDs, just grin and bear it. Making small claims on the insurance policy probably isn't the best thing to do in the long run (you risk rates getting raised).

Depending on the car insurance policy, what you get from the insurance company will vary (replacement costs to make you whole, vs. resell value determined by who-know-how nowadays). At least there's no chance of ending up upsidedown on a 10 year old car, but being forced to get another car with whatever you get for the 10-year old car's value is a major hassle and financial speedbump.

Going forward, invest in a MP3-capable car stereo, rip your CDs to MP3, burn the MP3s to CD-Rs (or CD-RWs as I do) and just play the easily replaceable CD-Rs with the MP3s on them. I never keep original CDs in the car.

I had over 60 CDs stolen from a place where I was a renter, and to be honest, I ended up replacing maybe 15 of the CDs, and the crooks sort of simplified my music CD collection for me. This was over 10 years ago.
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#5 of 14 WillG



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Posted November 26 2005 - 05:35 PM

Going forward, invest in a MP3-capable car stereo, rip your CDs to MP3, burn the MP3s to CD-Rs (or CD-RWs as I do) and just play the easily replaceable CD-Rs with the MP3s on them. I never keep original CDs in the car.

Fortunately, I do have a MP3 stereo in my own car and I have gotten complete collections of some of the bands I am into on MP3 CDs. It's just the ones I have not gotten to yet that are going to be a PITA. I am trying to get some back via some unmentionable means. For what it's worth, many of my CDs were pretty damaged anyway from the case I was keeping them in over the years.

In an attempt to cheer my fiancee up. I showed her the opening scene from Robocop 2
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#6 of 14 Scott_lb


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Posted November 26 2005 - 07:33 PM

Sorry to hear about your situation Bill. I've had my car broken into (they grabbed my new amp and sub) but never had my car stolen. Getting my equipment stolen was painful enough, so I don't even want to imagine the entire car. Anyway, I've had a friend who had her '91 Accord stolen from her apartment parking lot three years ago (which was gated), with the alarm on and a club attached. The found the car a few days later (in Pasadena) with a few hundred miles on it, all of the stereo equipment missing, and multiple "body fluids" on the rear seat. They also beat the crap out of it and it had a bunch of dents in it. My friend told me that although it was a '91, it was in fantastic condition. However, she had no pictures of her car and she stated that she couldn't get as much money for it when it was totaled. I don't understand that part because it is my understanding that the value is determined by blue book. Nonetheless, after hearing her story and having my beloved amp and sub stolen, I have chosen to:

1. All of my CD's are backed up on my laptop (which is then backed up on an external hard drive). I have a few MP3 CD-R's I keep in my car which are worthless to me if lost, scratched, or stolen.

2. I arm my alarm every single time I leave my car.

3. While there is relatively little car theft in the subs of Milwaukee, I always use my autolock when closer to the city (or whenever I was ANYWHERE in L.A.). The autolock is, more or less, a club-type device that attaches to the brake pedal and makes it impossible to use the brake when it's attached. I think those with manual transmissions are supposed to attach it to the cluth. I'm sure that there would be some way of removing that thing if a thief really wanted my car, but it seems a heck of a lot "sturdier" than the club which attaches to the steering wheel.

4. I take digital pictures of my car every spring when I do my "spring cleaning routine." Again, I have no idea whether or not this would even help matters if the car was stolen, but I do it anyway.

Again, I'm sorry this happened to you. It's too bad that there are people in the world who do this kind of thing to others. I guess you could always try to look on the positive side - if her car was going to get stolen it's better that she wasn't in it when it happened. Things could have turned out MUCH worse.
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#7 of 14 Kevin T

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Posted November 26 2005 - 10:14 PM

The CDs were in a book and I still have all the cases in my home if that would be proof to an insurance company.

I had my car broken into many moons ago and lost the majority of my cd collection this way. My cd's were in one of those 100+ caselogic binders. The insurance company is likely to tell you that they will not replace your cd's because they belong in the case - in your home. That's what Alfa told me. Hopefully, this won't be your case, but from my experience, insurance companies can and will do EVERYTHING in their power NOT to pay you.

kevin t
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#8 of 14 Colin Davidson

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Posted November 27 2005 - 12:29 AM

Will -

Sorry to hear about the car going missing. Everyone above had great advice. And while this bit of advise is off topic I wanted to mention it anyway.

Did you have a garage door opener in your car? If you did you may want to unplug your garage door until you can change the codes. You may also wish to take some extra security precautions around the home.

I don't want to be an alarmist but in my previous life in law enforcement I would always tell people the above when their car was stolen and they would tell me that it never occurred to them to think about the garage door opener and access to their homes.

Congrats on the engagement!


#9 of 14 Michael Harris

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Posted November 27 2005 - 04:01 AM

I feel your pain. I had my Jeep stolen from my apartment complex. I lived on the 16th floor and was sitting out on my balcony waiting for my mother to visit. I watched her drive into the lot right by my car. After letting her in and a bit of visiting, I told her that I had to run an errand. I go to the lot and noticed the empty spot where my Jeep used to be. Less then one hour elapsed.

The car was recovered, damaged, four days later. My insurance covered all the damage with no deductable. They asked me to supply a list of the contents and their value and covered that as well. Not that I had hundreds of CDs but I was reimbursed for my gym bag and its contents and some other items.

#10 of 14 ChristopherG



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Posted November 27 2005 - 08:24 AM

I have to agree with Patrick and strongly emphasize that making a claim on your homeowners policy for anything less than a catastrophy is ill-advised.

No one at your insurance company will tell you but if you make two claims within a specified period (I think 3 years) you will become "high risk". They may continue to insure you at your present address but if you move they will not re-insure you, you will be scored by the entire credit industry as high risk, and the only insurance available to you will be at very high premiums.

This I know through the school of hard knocks!
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#11 of 14 WillG



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Posted November 27 2005 - 11:25 AM

Thanks for the advice, guys. I knew I could count on the great people here at HTF. It's just sucks because it's such a violation. My fiancee said to me today that if it happened anywhere else it would not be so upsetting to her her, but the fact that it happened in our own home with a hundred other cars available to steal (condo complex) really made her feel victimized. I tried to tell her to not waste any emotional energy trying to rationalize it and that it was just a random act of crime, but part of her really is taking this personally. She's okay, but it just sucks. And I know it happens to alot of people and I'm not trying to make ourselves be more important than the thousands of people this happens to daily.

I have to agree with Patrick and strongly emphasize that making a claim on your homeowners policy for anything less than a catastrophy is ill-advised.

I guess I'll have to just suck it up. As for my music collection, I've already got some of it back via orrent-tay and I guess for the Calvin and Hobbes books, it's a good excuse to ask for the hardcover complete collection for Christmas.

Thanks again, guys.
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#12 of 14 David McGough

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Posted November 27 2005 - 03:06 PM

I had my 92 z71 stole 6 mos ago.. I got the check and the next day police called.. It was found in the Hospital parking lot.
Being a older car, it was prob for a joy ride.. Look in big lots.. Give the details to the Hosp security.

#13 of 14 Chu Gai

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Posted November 27 2005 - 11:18 PM

Check ebay for car parts from that year.

#14 of 14 Jason Hughes

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Posted November 28 2005 - 01:13 AM

A lot of insurance companies will scam you and not pay for the CDs. Bastards.
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