What to do if your Car is Stolen

Car theft is a motorist’s worst nightmare, but would you know what to do if you suddenly found your parking space suspiciously empty? In the immortal words of Douglas Adams the best piece of advice is DONT PANIC! Instead take a few deep breaths and then the following steps:

First you need to double-check that your car has actually been stolen, after all who hasn’t forgotten exactly where they parked at some point?  While scouting the area have a look at local parking restrictions to make sure that your vehicle hasn’t been towed. It’s also worth asking neighbourhood shopkeepers if they have seen anything suspicious.

If you are still out of luck the next step is to report the crime to the police on their non-emergency number 101. You will need to provide a description of the vehicle (including: make, model, colour and registration) any distinctive features and a list of anything of value in the car. The police will give you a crime number which you will need to make an insurance claim.

If you catch someone breaking into your car; keep your distance and call the police on their emergency number 999. Take note of the criminal’s physical description, but don’t be tempted to get involved as you may be injured.

Next call your insurance company to tell them what’s happened and give them your crime reference number. Having your car stolen is a stressful experience so make sure you choose an insurance company with a proven track record for customer service and access to a 24 hour claims helpline.

And last but not least get in-touch with the DVLA to tell them that your car has been stolen. They will update their records and make sure that HPI (the main index used by motor traders to check a vehicle’s history) knows it’s a stolen vehicle. If your car isn’t traced within seven days you can apply for a road tax refund via the DVLA.

Finally learn from what’s happened: think carefully about where you park and consider fitting a robust security system.

The good news is that car crime is falling in England and Wales. The latest official crime figures from the Office of National Statistics (released at the end of March 2013) show that annual vehicle thefts were down to 387,000. Thieves stole property from another 80,000 cars and tried to get into a further 285,000 cars unsuccessfully.

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