Victim of a Stolen Snowmobile, Truck and Trailer – What Happens Next?
Megan Crandall | On 18, Feb 2018
You’ve planned this trip for weeks: heading out to the mountains with your buddies to go riding. You’ve arrived at your destination. Conditions are amazing and you can’t wait to get out there. The alarm clock goes off and you look outside to see what conditions are in store for today. Suddenly, you realize something horrible…your truck, trailer and sleds are not where they were parked last night. You’re the victim of a stolen snowmobile rig.
Initiate panic mode; breathe in, breathe out.
Now, we hope that you are never in this situation. But just in case something like this ever comes up, here is some need-to-know information about what can happen, and if you’ll ever see your beloved property again.
Victim of a Stolen Snowmobile, Truck and Trailer – What Happens Next?
First things first—regardless of what was taken—call the police. This gets the ball rolling on potentially finding your property and catching the culprits. Next, here’s what can happen for each of your stolen snowmobile, truck and transportation. Now it goes without saying that if you don’t have specific theft insurance on any or all of these items, you’re pretty much flat out of luck unless they are recovered by police!
Editor’s note: To obtain accurate and detailed information on the process involved in dealing with stolen property, we have turned to the expertise of Zach Schwing, a Commercial Account Executive at CapriCMW in Kelowna, BC. Although Mr. Schwing has made reference to the policies of his own firm as examples of the process in general, the policies of individual insurance corporations will vary.
This article should not be viewed as an endorsement of CapriCMW or any other insurance company in particular. But rather we hope it to be a useful insight into the processes involved in receiving compensation for the victim of stolen property covered by an insurance policy. Furthermore, the information presented here relates to property under ownership in British Columbia, and may vary in other jurisdictions.
Your stolen truck claim will go through ICBC or your private insurer if you have one. Once you report a claim, you’d have to wait 20 days to see if the vehicle will be recovered. After those 20 days have gone by, and ICBC deems it gone, they would start the payout process.
However, if your truck is recovered by police within those 20 days, it would be towed to the nearest yard. The RCMP would then contact you, and then you would start the process with your ICBC adjuster. It would be towed to a repair shop of your choosing to be assessed for damages. From there, you would work with your adjuster and the repair shop to figure out whether it can be fixed or if it will be written-off if there is excessive damage.
So what if not only is your truck gone, but those scoundrels got the sled deck with it? Depending on what, if any, snowmobile insurance policy coverage you may have, your sled deck might also be automatically covered up to $2500 in some cases. However, that will not cover the replacement cost of a brand-new sled deck. For those cases, insurers will often offer an upgrade package which would cover the cost of a premium two-place sled deck—which may cost upwards of $5000 or more.
If the deck is permanently attached to the truck (such as a flatbed) then loss would be covered by ICBC. You would need to show proof of purchase such as a receipt or bill of sale. The value of your claim would most likely be actual cash value, which would take depreciation into account.
Now when it comes to a trailer, you have some options. If it has been insured for theft through ICBC—like your truck—then the same details apply. It needs to be missing for 20 days before they will start the payout process. Your second option would be to insure your trailer through your snowmobile policy at a private insurance company such as CapriCMW.
If you have any personal items in your trailer which were stolen—such as tools—those would be covered by your home insurance if you have it. This doesn’t apply to your sledding gear though. Through CapriCMW’s program for example, your riding gear would be covered up to $500, and your safety gear (first aid, avalanche gear, towing cables, etc) is covered up to $250. But given that an avalanche airbag alone costs over $1000, that’s not a lot of coverage for gear. If you have the “RideStar” package, the value of your riding gear increases up to $1000. Similar packages are available from other agencies, of course.
With various protection plans to choose from, as well as add-ons, CapriCMW and other insurance providers can offer coverage for a stolen snowmobile, which would not be covered otherwise under your separate vehicle, trailer or home insurance. In this case however, your sled needs to be missing for 30 days before they can start on the claim.
Now don’t panic, this does not necessarily mean you would not be able to ride for a month. If you have a premium plan, the cost of rentals may be covered. The benefit to a premium plan is that you won’t be stuck in a hotel room talking about your snowmobile insurance while your buddies are all out riding, you can go out too! Just be sure to check with your agent for allowances and keep all your receipts for reimbursement when your claim comes through.
Depending on your setup, you may be dinged twice on your deductibles. If you have your sled and your trailer insured through one agent, there should be only one claim and one deductible. However, if your sled is insured through a private insurance company for snowmobile insurance and your trailer is insured through ICBC for example, you’d be stuck paying two separate deductibles in this case.
What happens if my truck/trailer/sled is found after I’ve made a claim?
These items will then typically go to auction. Since you’ve already been paid out, your long lost sled belongs to the insurance company. If you would like to buy it back, you’d need to go to the auction. For your truck, ICBC may give you the option to buy it back before it goes to auction.
It’s best to be aware of what you’re covered for ahead of time, especially before a big trip! A stolen snowmobile rig can be devastating, even with proper coverage. Know what can happen and be prepared for the worst, and fingers crossed that it never happens to you!
You can protect yourself by having your vehicle and sled insured against theft. When on the road, take precautions overnight such as disabling the vehicle used to transport your snowmobile. Use anti-theft devices such as a vehicle alarm or wheel lock, or both. Trailers should be secured with receiver and trailer coupler locks. Padlocks used should be the style without an exposed bolt, which can too easily be snipped. Finally, look for accommodation that offers secure or video-monitored parking.
While nothing will stop a determined thief, having some visible security measures in place may encourage them to look for an easier target.