Losing your car registration can be a frustrating and confusing experience. While it’s important to act quickly to report the loss to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there’s no need to panic. In most cases, you’ll simply need to obtain a duplicate registration from your local DMV office. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind. If you’re asking yourself, “My car registration was stolen. Should I be worried?” We’ll discuss what you should do and provide tips on preventing this from happening again.
Why Do Thieves Steal Registrations?
Your vehicle’s registration is an identification document for cars. It contains essential information about the vehicle, such as its make, model, and VIN. Thieves may steal registrations for a variety of reasons. The most common ones include:
- Obtain the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): The VIN is a unique number assigned to each vehicle. Thieves can use this number to register a stolen car or illegal vehicle in another state.
- To prepare for a break-in: Your car registration contains sensitive information, like your home address. A thief could use this information to break into your home.
- Create fake vehicle documents: By altering the registration document or creating a new document using the stolen information, thieves can make fake vehicle documents.
- Identity theft: In some cases, thieves will use a stolen registration to help steal your identity. This can damage your credit and leave you with a large debt.
By understanding why thieves steal registrations, we can be better prepared to protect our vehicles from theft.
How to Prevent Car Registration Theft
To prevent your car registration from being stolen, there are a few things you can do:
- Lock your car. Always lock your vehicle, even if you’re stepping away for a few minutes. This will help to deter thieves from breaking into your car and stealing your registration.
- Be mindful of where you park. Whether at home or in a public parking lot, be aware of where you park your car. Parking in a well-lit and busy area will help discourage thieves.
- Shred old registration documents that you no longer need. Taking this precaution can help keep your car’s registration information safe and secure.
- Watch for suspicious activity around your car. If you see someone tampering with your vehicle or anything looks out of place, call the police immediately.
- Consider an alarm system. An alarm system will deter thieves from breaking into your car and help protect your registration. A steering wheel lock or kill switch can also help prevent your vehicle from being stolen.
- Avoid placing your registration in an obvious location. Your glove compartment might seem convenient for storing essential documents, but you should avoid leaving anything with sensitive, personal information, such as your home address, there. If you must store your registration in the glove compartment, lock it.
Taking these simple precautions can help prevent your car registration from being stolen and protect yourself from costly repairs or replacements.
What To Do if Your Registration Is Stolen
Losing your registration can be frustrating, but you can take a few steps to minimize the hassle.
- Report the theft to the police. You should call the police as soon as possible. This will help prevent thieves from using your stolen registration.
- Report the theft to your insurance provider. After you have reported the incident to the police, you should also file a report with your insurance company. This will help protect you if the thief steals your car or uses your stolen registration to commit insurance fraud.
- Keep an eye on your credit reports. In case the thief tries to open any lines of credit in your name, you should also regularly check your credit reports. It’s also a good idea to put a fraud alert on your credit reports, which will notify creditors that they should take extra steps to verify your identity before extending any credit.
- Take precautions to prevent future theft. You can do this by storing your registration in a safe place, locking your car, and being mindful of where you park.
How to Get a New Car Registration
While your vehicle is registered and still has its license plate, you’ll need to obtain a replacement registration to meet the letter of the law. Some states offer an online portal where you can view and print a copy of your registration. This can be helpful if you need a replacement quickly.
The process for replacing a lost or damaged registration varies from state to state, but there are a few general steps you’ll need to follow:
- Request a duplicate registration from your state’s DMV. This can usually be done online, by mail, or in person.
- Provide some basic information about yourself and your vehicle.
- Pay a small fee.
Car registration theft is a serious problem that can lead to a number of consequences. By taking a few simple precautions, you can help protect yourself from identity theft, fraud, and other crimes. If your registration is stolen, be sure to report the theft and take steps to prevent future incidents.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.