What to do if your car is stolen

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What To Do If Your Car Is Stolen

Who should you contact if your car has been stolen?

Discovering that your car has been stolen can be a distressing experience, but it’s important to stay calm and take immediate action. Here are the steps to follow if your car has been stolen:

Verify the situation

Before concluding that your car has been stolen, double-check the area to ensure that it hasn’t been towed or parked elsewhere by mistake. Sometimes, parking regulations or maintenance work may result in your car being relocated.

Contact the authorities

If you are certain that your car has been stolen, immediately report the theft to the police. Provide them with all the necessary details, including your vehicle’s make, model, colour, registration number, and any distinguishing features. The police will create a stolen vehicle report, which is crucial for insurance purposes.

Notify your insurance company

Contact your car insurance provider as soon as possible to report the theft. Provide them with the details of the police report, including the crime reference number. Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process and provide assistance based on your policy coverage.

Inform the DVLA

Report the theft to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) by completing the appropriate forms. This helps prevent any misuse of your stolen vehicle’s registration documents.

Spread the word

Share the details of your stolen car on social media platforms and online forums dedicated to recovering stolen vehicles. This can potentially increase the chances of someone spotting your car and notifying the authorities.

Keep records and documentation

Maintain copies of all communication related to the theft, including police reports, insurance claim documents, and correspondence with the DVLA. These records will be valuable during the investigation and insurance claim process.

Remember, it’s crucial to act promptly and cooperate fully with the police and your insurance provider when dealing with a stolen vehicle. Each situation may vary, and your insurance policy will outline specific procedures and requirements for reporting a stolen car.

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What if my stolen car has a personalised number plate?

If your stolen vehicle had a personalised registration, there are additional steps you need to take to preserve the registration and potentially transfer it to another vehicle. Here’s what you should do:

  • Notify the DVLA: As soon as your car is stolen, inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about the theft. Let them know that your vehicle had a personalised number plate. This will ensure that the DVLA is aware of the situation and can provide you with the necessary guidance.

  • Recovering your car: If you are fortunate enough to have your stolen car recovered, you can apply to reinstate your personalised number plates on the vehicle immediately. Make sure to follow the required process with the DVLA to ensure a smooth transition.

  • Transferring the registration: If you do not recover your stolen vehicle, you can still transfer your personalised registration to another vehicle. However, you will need to wait for a period of six months from the date of theft before initiating the transfer process. During this waiting period, you must demonstrate that the stolen car had a valid MOT and was taxed at the time of the theft.

  • Inform your insurance provider: It is crucial to inform your insurance provider as soon as you acquire personalised number plates for your vehicle. This allows them to include the relevant information in your policy. If you make a claim in the future, your insurance provider will be aware of the personalised plates and can handle the situation accordingly.

Remember to follow the guidelines set by the DVLA and maintain open communication with your insurance provider to ensure a smooth process for preserving or transferring your personalised number plates.

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Will my insurance policy always cover stolen cars?

Not all insurance policies automatically cover stolen cars. The coverage will depend on the type of policy you have. Here are the key types of car insurance policies and their coverage for stolen vehicles:

Third-party insurance

Third-party insurance is the most basic type of car insurance and provides coverage for injuries or damage caused to others, but it does not typically cover theft of your own vehicle.

Third-party, fire and theft insurance

Third-party, fire and theft is a type of insurance that provides coverage for theft of your vehicle, as well as fire damage and third-party liabilities.

Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive insurance is the highest level of coverage and generally includes protection against theft, as well as damage caused by accidents, fire, and other perils.

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If your car is stolen and later recovered within a specific time frame, typically within 14 days, and the damage is minimal, your insurance provider should be able to process your claim promptly, similar to an accident claim.

In cases where your car is not recovered or is found with significant damage beyond repair, most insurance providers will offer you the market value of the vehicle at the time it was stolen.

This allows you to purchase a replacement vehicle. Keep in mind that insurance providers typically have a waiting period of 30 days before paying out on a stolen car claim.

It’s important to carefully review your insurance policy to understand the specific coverage it provides for stolen vehicles and consider opting for comprehensive insurance or third-party, fire and theft insurance if you want protection against car theft.

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How to prevent your car from being stolen

Protecting your vehicle from theft is crucial. Follow these simple precautions to minimise the risk of your car being stolen:

  • Lock your car: Always double-check that your car is securely locked before leaving it, even when parked at home or a filling station. Manually verify the door handles, unless your car has a keyless entry that automatically locks when the handle is pulled.

  • Choose your parking wisely: When parking on the street, avoid secluded or poorly lit areas. In car parks, opt for well-lit and monitored facilities, preferably those with a Park Mark Safer parking award.

  • Keep valuables out of sight: Remove any valuables from your car or conceal them in the boot or glove box. Even seemingly insignificant items can attract thieves. Avoid leaving any indications of valuable items, such as charger cables, that may suggest there are devices inside the vehicle.

  • Protect against keyless entry theft: If your car has a keyless entry system, use a signal-blocking pouch to prevent thieves from intercepting and cloning your key’s signal, which could be used to unlock your car.

  • Install a Thatcham-approved alarm system: Consider fitting an alarm system that meets Thatcham’s standards, including features like tracking, immobilisation, and anti-grab sensors. These can help deter thieves and assist in locating and recovering your car if it’s stolen.

  • Accompany potential buyers on test drives: If you’re selling your car privately, always accompany potential buyers on test drives. This ensures the security of your vehicle and helps prevent any attempts to steal it during the viewing.

By taking these preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of your car being stolen and protect your valuable asset.

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Frequently asked questions

If you receive a call from the police informing you that your stolen car has been recovered, there are important steps you need to take:

  • Notify your insurance provider: Immediately inform your car insurance provider about the recovery of your stolen vehicle. Provide them with all the necessary details, including any damages, evidence of criminal activity, or potential safety concerns associated with the car.

  • Police recovery arrangements: The police will make arrangements for the recovery of your car. Keep in mind that you may be required to pay a recovery fee, typically around £150. However, this fee can often be claimed back from your insurance provider. Cooperate with the police throughout the process.

  • Vehicle assessment: Your insurance provider will assess the condition of the recovered car to determine whether it can be repaired or if it is considered a write-off. They will evaluate the extent of the damages and make a decision based on their assessment.

  • Timely collection: Ensure that you collect your car from the police promptly. If you fail to do so, the police may dispose of the vehicle after a specified period, typically within 14 days.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth process for handling the recovery of your stolen car. Remember to stay in close communication with both the police and your insurance provider to address any necessary actions promptly.

The coverage for personal belongings in a stolen car depends on the type of car insurance policy you have. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Fully comprehensive policy: If you have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy, it may cover the cost of personal belongings left in your car when it was stolen. This type of policy typically provides the most extensive coverage, including protection for personal possessions. However, coverage limits and specific terms may vary, so it’s important to review your policy documents or contact your insurance provider for details.

  • Third-party, fire and theft policies: These policies generally do not cover personal belongings in a stolen car. They focus primarily on providing coverage for third-party liability, fire damage, and theft of the vehicle itself.

  • Third-party-only policies: Similar to third-party, fire and theft policies, third-party-only policies typically do not include coverage for personal belongings. These policies are designed to meet the legal requirement for liability coverage, protecting you against claims from third parties for injury or damage caused by your vehicle.

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If your car insurance policy does not cover stolen personal belongings, you may have an alternative option. Check your home insurance policy as it may include coverage for personal possessions, even when they are not located at your home.

Review the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy or contact your home insurance provider to determine if you can make a claim for stolen items.

Remember, it’s essential to understand the specific coverage provided by your car insurance policy and any additional insurance policies you have to ensure you have adequate protection for your belongings in the event of a car theft.

While it is rare, there is a possibility that your car insurance claim could be rejected by your insurance provider. It’s important to understand the potential reasons why a claim might be denied. Here are a few scenarios that could lead to a claim rejection:

  • Carelessness: If your insurance provider determines that you were careless in protecting your vehicle, such as leaving your keys or keyless fob inside or near the car, it is likely that your claim will be rejected. Similarly, if you left a window open, making it easier for thieves to access your car, your claim may not be covered.

  • Valuables in view: If you left your belongings in plain sight within your car, it can be seen as an invitation for theft. In such cases, if your insurance provider finds that you did not take reasonable precautions to secure your belongings, your claim might be denied.

  • No signs of a break-in: If there are no visible signs of forced entry or evidence of a break-in, your insurance provider may question the validity of your claim. They might argue that the theft was not the result of external factors beyond your control.

If your claim is rejected and you believe that the decision is unjustified, you have the right to dispute it. Contact your insurance provider to discuss the reasons for the rejection and provide any additional evidence or information that supports your claim.

If you are unable to resolve the issue directly with your insurance provider, you may consider escalating the matter by seeking advice from a legal professional or contacting an independent dispute resolution service.

Remember, it’s crucial to carefully review the terms and conditions of your car insurance policy and take appropriate measures to protect your vehicle and belongings to avoid potential claim rejections.

It is highly likely that your insurance premiums will increase when your policy is up for renewal after making a stolen car claim. The theft of your car is considered a high-risk event by insurance providers, and they may adjust your premiums accordingly to account for the increased risk.

Additionally, when your car is stolen, it will be recorded in the Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR). This register is used by insurance providers to identify vehicles that have been stolen or involved in fraudulent activities.

Having your car listed on the MIAFTR may impact the cost of your future premiums, as insurers may view you as a higher-risk customer.

It’s important to note that insurance premium increases will depend on various factors, such as your insurance provider, your claims history, and the specific circumstances of the theft.

To better understand the potential impact on your premiums, it is advisable to reach out to your insurance provider directly and discuss the situation with them. They will be able to provide you with specific information regarding any changes in your premiums as a result of the stolen car claim.

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