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Dude, Where's My Car? What to Do When Your Car Is Stolen

Are you starring in an Ashton Kutcher stoner flick? No? Then chances are you didn't misplace your car. It was probably stolen.

Don't panic. When your car is stolen, you need to keep a level head and figure out what to do. It's important to act fast.

Still panicking? Follow the list below, and you should be fine. That said, we can't guarantee that you'll get your car back.

1. Call the police. When your car is stolen, the first thing you need to do is call the police. Your insurance company will not process a claim unless you have a valid police report.

And if you don't have insurance, it lets law enforcement know that you weren't the one driving the getaway car last night.

2. Make a list and check it twice. You can start this while you're waiting for the officer to arrive. Write down everything of value that was in your car. You'll need it for the police report and your insurance.

3. Call your insurance company. This is absolutely essential, no matter what kind of coverage you have. Doing so will protect you when your car is stolen and the thief hurts a third party.

4. Call the leasing/financing company. If you're making payments, let the company know. They have a stake in the outcome, and may suspend payments.

5. Change your locks. Kept an extra key in your car? Or left your house keys inside? Call a locksmith, since your address was probably somewhere inside.

6. Call credit card companies. If your wallet, checkbook, or bankcard were inside, notify each company. Regardless, it might be a good idea to put a fraud alert on your credit report in case any identifying information was stolen.

In addition to the above, follow all directions given by the police and your insurance company. When your car is stolen, you want to get it taken care of fast. Cooperation and being proactive is the best way to accomplish this.

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