How to Report a Stolen Car to the Police

Car theft is on the rise again in the UK, so, prevention is better than cure, try to look after your keys and definitely lock your car as you leave it! Don't let you lovely, precious car be one of the many stolen cars of 2023Getting a car stolen is among the worst things that could happen to anyone. 😫 Apart from the car itself, there could be other valuable items inside the vehicle that you might not be able to recover. Here are the steps to take if you’re in this unfortunate situation. 

Contact the Police

As soon as you find out that your car has been stolen, get your phone and dial 101. An operator will take your call so ask them to connect you to the local police. Prepare the following pieces of information:

  • Your car’s registration number
  • The make and model of your vehicle
  • And a thorough description of the car such as it’s colour and other identifying characteristics. 

The UK police issues a crime reference number for vehicles that have been stolen. You will need this reference number when you’ll be reporting this incident to your insurance company. The authorities will also get in touch with the DVLA to inform them about the theft, as well as provide updates if your car has been recovered. 

Inform Your Insurance Company

It’s a legal requirement to have vehicle insurance cover in the UK so in case you’re in a situation where your car was stolen, inform your insurer as soon as you have the reference number from the police. Your insurance company will then provide you with the steps on making an insurance claim for your stolen car. Make sure you take note of these steps and follow them accordingly. 

Update the DVLA When the Insurer Pays Out

When your insurer pays out on your claim for your stolen vehicle, the next thing to do is to inform the DVLA about it. Basically, once the insurer pays, the car is no longer under your ownership but the insurance company’s. 

You may update the DVLA about the ownership by using your V5C document. Find section 9 and fill it out, after which, sent the document to the DVLA. You may also do this online. Don’t forget to add a letter that confirms that you have accepted the insurance payout. Also include the details of the insurance company. 

Usually, your insurer will ask for a part of your V5C. In case the insurer asks for the whole document, send a letter to the DVLA and provide them with the following:

  • Name and contact details of the insurance company
  • Date of your insurance claim
  • Your car’s registration number, make and model, and colour

Remember to sign your letter and then send it to the DVLA through this address:

DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BD

Cancelling the Road Tax on Your Stolen Car

The DVLA cancels the road tax of the previous owner once they no longer own the vehicle. Any direct debit payments will also be cancelled. When your road tax has been cancelled by the DVLA, you will get a refund cheque for the remaining months. The DVLA will calculate the amount, basing it on the date that they have received the information about the theft. The cheque will then be mailed to you on the address that is stated on the V5C logbook. 

While the agency refunds your road tax, you will not be refunded for the following:

  • Credit card fees
  • 5% surcharges for some direct debit payments
  • 10% surcharges for the single 6-month payment

How to Prevent Car Theft

Don’t Depend on Your Key Fob

Any car owner would say that they lock their car doors whenever they leave it. However, not every driver checks if the doors are actually locked. Key fobs are great and convenient but don’t depend on them too much. Some car thiefs actually use “jammers” that intercept the fob signal to the car. This means even if you think you locked your car, the door remains unlocked. At this point, it would be so easy to steal your vehicle. So, even if it seems like a hassle, do check that your car doors are actually locked. 

Park in a Safe Area

Finding a safe parking space can be such a pain but if you want to keep your car from being stolen, this is something you need to do. Find a well-lit area that is open to public view. For car parks, choose one that has security patrols, CCTVs, and has the approval of Park Mark. In busy town centres, park near other cars rather than away from other vehicles. Safety in numbers works in cars as well. 

Take Your Valuables With You

It’s tempting to just leave your bags, gadgets, and other things in the car but this is a big no-no. Even if your car won’t be stolen, thieves could break your windows or damage your car just to get your valuables. This is going to be a very expensive repair you don’t want to have. It’s a hassle to carry all your things around but this is way much better than getting your car stolen or damaged. 


Having your car stolen is so stressful but keep your mind alert, don't panic and do all the necessary steps so that the police can help you recover it. Inform the authorities, your insurance company, and the DVLA. It’s important to stay calm and have presence of mind when you find out that your car is gone. The sooner you can file a report on the theft, the sooner the police can work on tracking it down. 🚙