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What to Do If Your Car is Stolen

Read on to find out what you need to do to ensure a payout from your car insurance provider.

Last updated: 13/11/2023 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Police report’s that car thefts have nearly doubled in the last five years in the UK.

With figures rising at such an alarming rate, it’s a good idea to be prepared if you are a victim of such an unfortunate and expensive crime.

This guide will run you through the steps to take if your car is stolen. If you want to know about how to prevent it being stolen in the first place, read our guide on how to protect your car from theft.

In This Guide:

Double-check it really has been stolen (yes, really)

First things first, you need to be 100% certain your car has been stolen. You won’t be the first person ever to have misplaced your car, and knowing it’s definitely been taken will save you an embarrassing phone call to the police.  Have you checked all the car parking levels? Is there any ‘no parking’ signs around suggesting your car may have been towed away? If you have exhausted all the possible reasons why your vehicle may have disappeared, it’s time to call the police.

Call the police

When you call the police to report your car has been stolen you will need to make sure you have the registration number to hand. You’ll need to confirm the make, model and colour of your vehicle in addition to anything inside that may be of value. Remember to write down the crime reference given to you by the police as you’ll need this when contacting your car insurer.

Is car theft covered by your insurance?

Most people would assume your car insurance would cover the cost of car theft but make sure you double-check your policy to know what you are covered for. This is a situation where the cheapest car insurance policy might not have been the best option for you. Third-party only insurance is the most basic insurance you can purchase and a legal requirement. It doesn’t cover you for damage to your own car. For further cover, you would need to add theft (third-party fire and theft). This is the same as third-party insurance but also includes if your car is stolen or catches fire. Alternatively, you need to purchase a comprehensive policy that covers damage to your car, even when it’s your fault.

If your insurer agrees to settle your claim, they will pay you the market value (what the car would have been sold for).  It’s a good idea to do some research on how much the model of your car is currently being sold for, so if you’re not happy with the price they’ve quoted, you’ll have supporting evidence.

All insurance policies are different but there is a chance a pay-out by your insurers will end your policy. It’s also worth noting, if you're paying your premium in installments (the amount you pay for your insurance policy), you could have to continue paying it off until the policy has finished.

What if your stolen car is recovered?

Great! The police have called and your car has been found! But what now?

You must tell your insurer straight away. You’ll also need to find out if the car has been damaged, used to commit another crime or is possibly unsafe to drive. This is all information the police will be able to help you with.

The police will arrange for your car to recovered which you will be charged for (this can be claimed back depending on your insurance policy).

If you have theft coverage, your insurer will assess the damage to your car and decide what needs to be done next. This could either be a repair job or the worst-case scenario, a write-off.

Could my car insurance claim be rejected?

There is a possibility your claim could be rejected if the insurer thinks you hadn’t been careful enough. If you lost your car keys, but they were left in or around the car, you are unlikely to have your claim covered. If there is no sign of break-in, you may have to prove your keys weren’t easily accessible. Your insurer could also argue you did not secure your car well enough.

If you disagree with your car insurance for rejecting your claim, you have every right to dispute the decision. In this situation, the best thing to do is make sure you have enough supporting evidence to back up your argument. You should also make an official complaint to your insurer if they are taking too much time to settle your claim for no valid reason. 

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