Would you know what to do if your car was stolen? Find out how to report a theft, recover your car, make a claim and ways you can keep your vehicle safe.
If you think your car has been stolen, call the police and report it.
The Police National Computer (PNC) will be updated and the police will give you a crime reference number, which you’ll need when you contact your car insurance provider.
You’ll need to tell the police the registration number, make, model and colour of the vehicle, as well as details of any personal belongings that were inside the vehicle.
If your car's found, tell your insurer immediately. But don’t drive it away - you won’t know if the car’s damaged, unsafe to drive, or has been used to commit another crime.
If you’re covered for theft, tell your insurer as soon as possible to start the claims process - give them your crime reference number.
The police will arrange for a company to recover your car. You’ll have to pay a fee for it - usually around £150, but it depends on the vehicle and how difficult the recovery is.
Your insurer will assess the car and decide if it needs repair or is a write off. You can then claim back the recovery fee too, assuming it's covered by your policy.
The information your claim is based on must be accurate, otherwise it could slow the process down or invalidate your cover.
If your car is only minimally damaged, your claim should be settled quickly, but it could take longer for heavily damaged cars.
Either way, your insurer needs to make a reasonable offer of settlement within three months.
If your car isn’t found or it’s declared a write-off, your insurer will offer you the actual cash value (ACV), otherwise known as ‘market value’, of the car at the time it was stolen. As car value falls quickly, this figure could be a lot less than what you paid for it.
If you’re concerned the ACV won’t be enough to purchase a new car, or pay off any outstanding finance, consider getting Guaranteed asset protection (Gap) insurance. This cover tops up the amount your insurer offers if the ACV isn’t enough.
You can dispute the amount your insurer offers you if you aren’t happy with it, but you’ll need to prove that your car has been undervalued - for example, evidence of local car prices.
If you’ve used a hire car while your claim is processed, your insurer doesn’t have to pay for it, unless you’ve got rental car reimbursement cover. Even then, the amount you’re covered for will be limited.
You can claim for compensation if you had personal possessions in the car that haven’t been recovered, so long as it’s included on your car insurance.
Alternatively, you could claim on your home insurance if you’ve got cover for your possessions away from home, but you can’t claim on both.
You might get a discount on your car insurance if you fit an anti-theft device
The harder it is to steal your car, the less likely it is thieves will try. That means less risk of a claim for your insurer
Last checked 20 May 2019