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My car has been stolen. What should I do?

My car has been stolen. What should I do?

First off – don’t panic. Although vehicle theft does happen, it’s not the only reason your car might not be where you left it. And if your car has been stolen, your car insurance is there to help you get back on the road. Here’s what to do if you suffer a car theft.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
3
minute read
posted 7 JANUARY 2020

What to do if your car has been stolen

It’s every driver’s worst nightmare. You go to get your car and it’s not where you parked it. Someone has taken it… or have they?

According to the Metropolitan Police, it’s surprisingly common for cars to go missing for reasons other than theft. Possibilities include:

  • It was towed while illegally parked – for example, if roadworks were happening on your road and you didn’t see the notices about suspension of on-street parking
  • You parked it in a different place and forgot. This honestly does happen, especially if your normal parking space wasn’t available
  • Someone else with a set of keys borrowed the car without letting you know.

If you think your car could have been towed, you can contact the police on the non-emergency 101 phone number to find out if it’s been impounded and how to get it back.

Who do you need to contact?

If it turns out your car has been stolen, here are the calls you need to make:

  • The police on 101 - The police will give you a crime reference number, which you’ll need to start an insurance claim. They’ll need to know the make and model, colour and number plate of your car. Use the 101 non-emergency phone number to get through to your local police station.
  • Your car insurance provider - Contact your car insurance provider as soon as possible, to get the ball rolling on your insurance claim. It’s a good idea to have your policy number to hand.
  • The DVLA - If your insurance claim goes ahead and your provider pays out for your car, you’ll need to let the DVLA know that you no longer own your car as it’s been bought by the insurance provider. Even if it never turns up again, the insurance provider now owns the stolen car, so the DVLA will need to update their records.

They’ll also refund you any remaining vehicle tax. This is calculated from the date they get your information, so don’t delay. The exception is if you had personalised number plates. In this case, refunds don’t happen automatically, so you’ll need to request one.

They’ll also refund you any remaining vehicle tax. This is calculated from the date they get your information, so don’t delay. The exception is if you had personalised number plates. In this case, refunds don’t happen automatically, so you’ll need to request one.

A note about personalised plates

If your stolen vehicle has personalised plates and you’d like to put them on another car, you’ll need to allow 12 months before the DVLA will consider re-issuing them. You’ll also need to show that the car was MOT’d and taxed at the time of the theft. This is the point at which you’ll be able to request a tax refund.

Another potential complication is that, once you’ve made a claim, the number plates – along with the rest of the car – belong to the insurance provider. That’s why it’s important to tell your provider that you have personalised plates as soon as you buy them. So they can make a note, in case of future claims.

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