What happens if my car is stolen on finance?

February 23, 2022 by

The chances of your car being stolen are pretty low (48,400 vehicles were reported as stolen in 2021 according to the DVLA) but it’s always something to be mindful of.

If you purchased your car on finance you may be wondering what actions you need to take if it’s stolen. Read on to find out…

Steps to take if your car on finance is stolen

  1. Contact the police
  2. Contact your car insurance company
  3. Inform your car finance company
  4. Contact the DVLA

1. Contact the police

Before anything else, you should contact the police if your car is stolen by calling 101.

You’ll likely be asked for more information, such as the vehicle registration number, plus any details of the theft you can provide. This could include an approximate time and location of the theft, and whether you witnessed the car being stolen.

You’ll be issued a crime reference number by the police. It’s important you keep this handy because you’ll need to pass it on to your insurance company.

Do not attempt to locate or recover your car yourself. If you later find your car (or have a tracker fitted to it) inform the police of its location. Allow the police to recover your car, as you could be putting yourself at serious risk otherwise.

2. Contact your insurance company

Once you have a crime reference number, you should inform your car insurance company.

You’ll be asked to confirm your name and address, as well as your policy number and more details of the car. You may be asked for details of the theft.

It’s key to provide accurate information to your insurer. Failure to do so could lead to your policy being invalidated, leaving you without a payout. This could have a negative effect on your ability to get car insurance in future.

Once your insurer has all the necessary information, it will investigate your claim and contact you when a decision is made.

If your insurer pays out on your claim and the car is recovered, they’ll retain ownership of the car. If the claim has yet to be settled but your car is returned to you, you should inform your insurer straight away.

It’s worth noting you’ll only receive a payout for policies with theft coverage. Some third-party-only policies may not have this, so it’s worth checking. Comprehensive insurance will cover theft as a general rule.

You’ll also need to continue paying your car finance while your claim is under review.

3. Contact your car finance company

After you’ve reported the theft to both the police and your insurer, you’ll need to tell the finance company too.

The information you need to provide will be similar to your insurer: the crime reference number, details of the car, etc.

As previously mentioned, you’ll need to continue making your finance payments while your claim is under review. If the car is not recovered and your insurer pays out, you should then use the settlement to pay off your remaining finance balance.

You’ll need a letter from your insurance company stating that the car has been stolen and a claim paid out, too.

It’s worth noting that your insurer won’t take your finance agreement into account when deciding on how much to payout. Rather, it’ll consider the current value of the car.

That means you could be left short of the full amount needed to pay off the agreement. You’ll need to continue making payments to settle the rest of the balance or pay one lump sum.

If you’re particularly concerned about this, it may be worth considering an additional GAP insurance policy. This is designed to bridge the gap between what your insurer pays out and the remainder of your finance amount (should the car be stolen or written off).

4. Contact the DVLA

Though the police will inform the DVLA if your car is stolen, you’ll need to update them if your insurer pays out.

You can do this online. Alternatively, if you have the car’s V5C logbook, you can fill in the yellow ‘sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle’ section of your logbook.

Send this to the DVLA along with a letter from your insurer confirming when the payment was accepted, plus details of the insurance company.

If you’ve handed over the V5C to the insurance company already, you’ll need to send the following to the DVLA:

  • The details of your insurance company
  • The date of the claim
  • Your car’s registration number
  • The make, model and colour of your vehicle
  • Your signature

This will need to be sent to:

  • DVLA
    Swansea
    SA99 1BD

You’ll need to apply for a tax refund as well, rather than be automatically given one. You’ll need to contact the DVLA to get form V33, with which you should include your crime reference number.

You’ll then need to send that to:

  • Refund Section
    DVLA
    Swansea
    SA99 1AL

A refund will usually take 4-6 weeks to come to you.