When you book a rental car for a trip, you never expect to deal with rental car theft. Unfortunately it does happen. If you find yourself as the victim of a stolen rental car, follow these steps as quickly as possible and read on for tips to reduce your risk for your next trip with a rental car.
1. Call the police
As soon as you realize the car is missing, call the police department and tell them you’re reporting a stolen rental car. They can help you document the right information, file a police report and determine next steps.
2. Contact the rental company
Once you’ve filed a police report, contact the car rental company. Share the details of the incident, including the police report case number. They’ll need this number to process their own theft report.
3. Determine if you need to file an insurance claim
Whether you need to file an insurance claim will depend on how you obtained your insurance coverage:
- Car rental company insurance
If you purchased insurance through your car rental company, then they should handle the claim for you using the information you provided.
- Personal insurance policy
If you used your own car insurance policy, you’ll need to call your insurance provider to report the issue.
- Credit card rental car insurance
Those using their credit card’s rental insurance policy will need to contact the credit card company to file a report.
However you file, a prompt, detailed insurance claim is crucial to a timely resolution.
Steps to reduce the risk of rental car theft
If you’re preparing for an upcoming trip, there are precautions you can take to help keep yourself and the rental vehicle safe. Here are a few things to do and remember during your trip.
1. Avoid unsafe areas
Before your trip, research the area you’ll be traveling to, including which neighborhoods are generally safe to drive in and which you should avoid. For a local’s perspective, you can also ask the hotel staff or your accommodation host for advice.
2. Lock the car
It may seem obvious, but locking the car is your first line of defense in keeping it safe. Every time you park, check that your windows, sunroof and trunk are all closed, and double check that the doors are locked before you walk away.
3. Keep luggage and personal belongings out of sight
What happens if you leave something in a rental car? It’s more likely to get stolen. You’re an easier target if thieves can see things like bags and electronics left inside the car. Store your luggage in the trunk and hide smaller items under the seats, in the seatback pockets and glove box, or under the floor mats where they can’t be seen. When you’re parking, try to avoid opening the trunk and showing off its contents — you never know who may be watching.
4. Park in a secure garage
If there are multiple parking options available, experts recommend parking in a garage instead of on the street, especially if you are leaving the car overnight. Parking garages are generally more secure than street parking because they are well lit and many have a security gate or parking attendant that drivers must interact with to enter and exit the garage. It will probably be more expensive, but can really help you reduce the risk of a stolen rental car.
5. Always take your car keys with you
If you’re going on a hike, camping trip or other adventure, it can be tempting to stash your car keys somewhere in or near the car to make sure you don’t lose them. However, this is never a wise idea. You should always bring your keys with you, even if you’re parking in what appears to be a safe area.
What happens if a rental car is stolen with Avail?
At Avail, your personal safety and the safety of our vehicles are our top priorities. If your Avail car is stolen during your trip, contact us to report the theft. We’ll assist you during the process and file a claim for you. Avail’s Allstate insurance policy includes comprehensive insurance coverage that will help pay to replace or repair your stolen rental car.* When you borrow with Avail, you can relax knowing you’re protected.
*This coverage is excess over any other insurance that a borrower has. Additional fees for insurance and protection may apply at checkout. You can learn more about Avail’s insurance coverage for borrowers here.