She faces problems from her insurance company.
In Colorado, car thefts have become an increasing concern, with 27,429 vehicles reported stolen in 2023, a slightly reduced figure from the previous year, as per the Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center. Jennifer Samuel, a local resident, found herself entangled in this worrying trend when her Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen from her neighborhood in July.
The theft, captured by a neighbor's Ring camera, showed a truck hauling away Samuel's vehicle in an enclosed trailer. The car was recovered the next day, but a disturbing discovery was made by a custom detailer: the wires behind the steering wheel had been tampered with, and traces of amphetamines were found inside the vehicle.
Even after the Jeep was cleaned and repaired, Samuel expressed discomfort at the thought of driving it again, especially with her children. Her concerns were met with an underwhelming response from her insurance company's claims adjuster, who assured her of the vehicle's safety but advised her to "check your documents" for more information.
Despite her apprehensions, Samuel resumed driving the Jeep, only to encounter further issues with sensors and a non-functional horn. The car has since been undergoing extensive repairs at a dealership, highlighting the severity of the damage inflicted by the thieves.
Adding to Samuel's frustration, her insurance company refused to declare the car a total loss, citing its post-cleanup condition. David Cardella, CEO of the Colorado Independent Automobile Dealers Association, shed light on the current market dynamics, explaining how the shortage of new cars has inflated the value of used vehicles, leading insurers to avoid totaling cars they believe can retain some value.
Samuel also faced unexpected costs when she realized her insurance didn't cover rental expenses, a situation common to many policyholders. Cardella advises car owners, especially those who park on the streets, to use a steering wheel lock, like a club, to deter theft. This preventive measure costs around $50, but it can provide significant protection against car theft.
In the wake of her ordeal, Samuel, like many others who have had their cars stolen, must now navigate the complex aftermath of vehicle theft, which includes ongoing repairs, insurance disputes, and enhanced security measures to safeguard her vehicle against future incidents.