While staying in Queens, New York a week ago, I discovered on Sunday that my car had been broken into. Some time between Friday night and Sunday morning, someone broke the front passenger side window and pulled out my car radio and a few other items I had left hidden in the car. In addition to the radio, they grabbed my iPod, GPS, and cell phone chargers. After several years of visiting Queens, I had become fairly lackadaisical about leaving items in the car, even hidden. Nevertheless, the suction imprint on the windshield, the out-of-state plates, and the fact that the car hadn’t moved since Friday night most likely signaled to the thief that my car would be a good mark.
I filed a police report and worked with the insurance company. They weren’t able to find a glass company that could come to replace the window until Tuesday; I found one that would come sooner, so the insurance company worked directly with them. There was no out-of-pocket cost for me to replace the window, but the stolen items were not covered.
This past weekend I replaced just about everything that had been stolen. In the process, I’ve learned or reinforced a few things.
People were amazed that I didn’t get upset about the ordeal. Stuff is just stuff. Nothing stolen was irreplaceable. At least no one I know was hurt. There’s a possibility, however, that the thief was hurt during the theft. There appeared to be a small drop of blood on the inside of the door under the broken window. We cleaned that right away.
Consider renter’s insurance or homeowners insurance. If I had renter’s insurance, the items stolen may have been covered. I should have researched this years ago. I’m not beating myself up about it because I had enough income in September to replace the items without dipping into savings, but that may not always be the case.
Don’t leave valuables in your car. I’m glad I didn’t have anything more valuable in my car. I don’t normally leave my laptop or camera, but those would have been significant losses for me. I switched to a larger laptop and I am getting into the habit of taking everything with me all the time.
This may not apply to everyone, but I plan on being more selective about where I park. My girlfriend lives in a decent neighborhood, but by the time I arrived at her house on that Friday night, the only parking spot I could find was close to one of the major streets through Queens and Long Island, in front of a business. It’s frustrating to have to drive around for a half an hour or more to find a decent parking spot, but I’ll have to wait until something in front of a residence opens up.
I’ve decided not to replace the GPS for now. While I had the device I didn’t use it as often as I thought I would. The cell phone I bought this year has basic GPS capabilities. As long as the cell phone has service, if necessary I should be able to use it to download a map of my location.
Published or updated September 1, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.