What To Do If Your Car Is Stolen

Compare cheap car insurance

Compare cheap car insurance quotes
✔ Over 110 insurance providers
✔ Get a quote in minutes
✔ Save up to £504*

Start a quote

First and foremost – stay calm. While vehicle theft is a reality, there could be other reasons why your car isn’t where you expected it to be.

In the unfortunate event that your car has been stolen, remember that your insurance is designed to assist you in such situations, helping you return to the road with as little disruption as possible. Here are the steps to follow if your car is stolen.

Check if Your Car Was Stolen

Immediate Steps

If you return to the spot where you last left your car and discover it’s missing, it’s natural to jump to the conclusion that it has been stolen.

However, before you let panic set in, consider some advice from the Metropolitan Police. It turns out, there are several reasons your car might have vanished that don’t involve theft. Here are a few scenarios to consider:

Check If Your Car Was Stolen

Possible Reasons for a Missing Car

  • Towed for Illegal Parking: Your car might have been towed if it was parked illegally. For instance, there could have been roadworks that resulted in a temporary suspension of parking, and you missed the signs.
  • Forgotten Parking Location: Believe it or not, it’s not uncommon to forget where you’ve parked your car, especially if you had to choose an alternative spot because your usual one was taken, or you parked in a different level of a multi-storey car park.
  • Borrowed by Someone Else: Sometimes, a family member or a friend who has access to your car might have taken it without informing you.

What to Do Next

If you suspect your car may have been towed, the best course of action is to contact the police using the non-emergency 101 number. They can inform you if your car has been impounded and explain the procedure for retrieving it.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

Report Your Car as Stolen

Immediate Actions to Take

Discovering your car has been stolen can be a stressful experience. To address the situation effectively, it’s important to know the correct steps to follow. Here’s whom you should contact:

Report Your Car As Stolen

Contacting the Authorities

  • The Police: Dial 101 to get in touch with your local police station. They will provide you with a crime reference number, which is essential for proceeding with an insurance claim. Be ready to provide details about your car, including its make, model, colour, and registration number.

Informing Your Insurance Provider

  • Your Car Insurance Provider: Once you have reported the theft to the police, the next step is to contact your insurance provider. Having your policy number and the crime reference number at hand will help streamline the process. This is the first step towards initiating your insurance claim.

Notifying the DVLA

  • The DVLA: Should your insurance claim be successful and your provider compensates you for the loss, you must inform the DVLA that you are no longer the owner of the vehicle. The car’s ownership will have transferred to the insurance company. The DVLA will then update their records and refund any remaining vehicle tax you’ve paid.
Related:  How to Stay Safe on Smart Motorways

Utilising Technology

  • Black Box Technology: If your car is equipped with a black box or telematics device, it could play a crucial role in recovering your vehicle. The device can track your car’s location through GPS. Your insurance provider can share this data with the police, potentially helping to trace your car more quickly.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

Does Insurance Cover Car Theft?

Types of Cover

Car insurance policies may cover car theft, depending on the level of cover you have chosen. The most basic form, known as third-party insurance, does not protect against theft.

This level insures you only if you cause damage to another person’s car or if you injure someone. For theft protection, you would need to opt for either third-party, fire and theft insurance or a comprehensive policy.

Does Insurance Cover Car Theft

Claim Process for Recovered Cars

If your car is stolen and later found with minimal damage, your insurance provider should be able to settle the claim swiftly, similar to how they would handle an accident claim. This means you could get back on the road without significant delay.

Handling Total Loss or Non-recovery

In cases where your car is either not recovered or is found but with irreparable damage, the usual procedure is to offer you the market value of your car.

This allows you to purchase a replacement vehicle. The amount you receive will be determined by your insurance policy details.

Some insurers provide a stolen car insurance payout calculator to help you estimate the potential payout in the event of a theft. This tool can give you a clearer idea of what to expect in terms of financial compensation.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

What Happens if Your Car is Stolen on Finance?

Immediate Steps

When a car bought on finance is stolen, the process follows similarly to that of any other car theft.

You are required to contact the police, your insurance provider, and the finance company to report the theft. These steps are crucial for initiating the claim and investigation process.

What Happens If Your Car Is Stolen On Finance

Insurance Payout

A notable difference in this scenario is that any insurance payout is typically made to the finance company, not directly to you. This is because the finance company is considered the legal owner of the vehicle until the finance is fully paid off.

Consideration of GAP Insurance

If there’s a concern that the insurance payout might not cover the outstanding finance on the car, you might find GAP insurance beneficial.

GAP insurance is designed to cover the difference between the insurance payout and the remaining balance owed to the finance company.

This can provide peace of mind and financial protection in the event of a theft.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

How to Prevent Your Car Being Stolen

Basic Security Checks

To minimise the risk of theft, always ensure your car is locked before walking away. This applies even in seemingly safe locations like your home driveway or while at a petrol station. A quick check can make all the difference.

How To Prevent Your Car Being Stolen

Smart Parking Choices

Parking in a secure spot is crucial. On the street, opt for areas that are not secluded. For car parks, choose ones that are well-lit, manned, or hold a Park Mark safer parking award. These locations are less likely to be targeted by thieves.

Valuables and Visibility

Always remove valuables from your car, or at least keep them out of sight in the boot or glove box. Something as simple as a charger cable can attract unwanted attention, suggesting there might be more to steal inside.

Keyless Entry Precautions

For cars with keyless entry systems, storing the key in a signal-blocking pouch can prevent thieves from cloning the signal and unlocking your car without the key. This is an easy yet effective way to enhance your car’s security.

Advanced Security Systems

Installing a Thatcham-approved alarm system that includes tracking, immobilisation, and anti-grab sensors can offer additional layers of protection, helping to deter thieves and recover your car if it is stolen.

Related:  Driving with Pets

Caution During Sales

If selling your car, always accompany potential buyers on test drives. This prevents someone from taking your car under the guise of interest in purchasing it.

How much can you save on your car insurance?

Get a quote

Frequently asked questions

If your vehicle with a personalised registration is stolen, it’s important to contact the DVLA immediately to retain your number plate. Should your car be recovered, you can reapply to have your personalised plates reinstated on your vehicle.

In the unfortunate event that your car is not returned, you must wait six months before you have the option to transfer your registration to another vehicle.

You will need to demonstrate that your car was covered by a valid MOT and taxation at the time it was stolen to proceed with this process.

Following these steps, you may also be eligible to request a tax refund.

Remember to inform your insurance provider about your personalised plates when filing a claim.

If the police inform you that your car has been recovered, it’s crucial to notify your insurance provider immediately. They will need to be informed if the vehicle has sustained damage, been used in a crime, or is unsafe to drive.

The police will coordinate the recovery of your car, which might incur a fee of approximately £200-£400.

This cost can generally be reclaimed through your insurance. Your insurance company will then evaluate the vehicle to determine if it can be repaired or if it should be considered a write-off.

It’s important to collect your car from the police as soon as possible. Failing to do so may result in the police disposing of your vehicle after 14 days.

If your car insurance is a comprehensive policy, it may cover the cost of personal belongings that were inside your car at the time it was stolen.

However, third-party, fire and theft policies, as well as third-party only policies, typically do not cover possessions.

If your insurance provider does not offer cover for stolen items, you might have the option to claim for these personal possessions under your home insurance policy instead.

There is a possibility that your car insurance claim could be rejected if your insurance provider determines you have acted carelessly.

Common examples of such carelessness include leaving your keys or keyless fob inside or near the car, or failing to secure the vehicle by leaving a window open.

Additionally, your claim may be denied if personal belongings were left visible within the car, or if there were no signs of forced entry.

If you believe the rejection of your claim is unjust, you are entitled to dispute the insurer’s decision.

If you file a claim for a stolen car, it is highly probable that the cost of your insurance will increase at your next policy renewal.

Moreover, the incident will be recorded on the Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR), which may influence the premiums charged by insurance providers in the future.

Car insurance blog

Is My No-Claims Bonus Still Valid After a Break Between Policies?

Related:  Modifying a Car for a Disabled Driver

Compare Cheap Impounded Car Insurance Quotes

Related:  Group 9 car insurance

Driving Licence Codes and Categories

Related:  Modifying a Car for a Disabled Driver

Car Insurance Credit Checks

Related:  Group 9 car insurance

Car Insurance Claim Rejected?

Related:  How to Stay Safe on Smart Motorways

Dash Cams: Do they Reduce Car Insurance Premiums?

Related:  What happens on a speed awareness course?

What is a Car Insurance Cover Note?

Related:  Driving with Pets

Classic Car MOT

Related:  Audi car insurance