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How to Report a Stolen Car to the Police in Just 3 Steps

Knowing how to report a stolen car to the police is important, particularly if you don’t have a GPS tracking device and you’re certain the vehicle hasn’t been towed or borrowed. 

Below, find out how to report a stolen car to the police, make an insurance claim, and how you can prevent your car being stolen in the first place.

Report a Stolen Car to the Police in 3 Steps

Experiencing car theft is frightening and stressful, but it’s important to first confirm that the vehicle is stolen, as opposed to towed or borrowed by a family member. 

Once you’re certain, report the stolen car to the police by following the 3 steps below. 

1. Gather as much information as possible

When reporting a stolen car to the police, the more information you gather, the better. Consider things like:

  • Has anyone nearby seen the car or anyone suspicious around it?
  • Do any neighboring houses or businesses have surveillance footage that might have caught the car being stolen?

Police will ask for secondary information, so immediately make a note of:

  • The car make and model.
  • The color.
  • Year of manufacture.
  • Cosmetic quirks to identify the car, including significant scratches.

2. Call the police and file a report

The good news is that car theft is usually much more traceable than other types of theft thanks to number plates and extensive surveillance on the road and in car parks.

In other words, it is worth reporting a stolen car to the police. Once you have notified the police and satisfied any of their requests for information, descriptions, and alibis, it’s simply a matter of waiting. 

3. Contact insurance

Once the police have confirmed your car is stolen, contact your insurance company to notify them of the theft. Before filing a claim, read the terms and conditions around car theft to know what you’re entitled to.

The police must provide an incident reference number that can be passed onto the insurance company for their records. This is necessary for any insurance claims.

Some insurance providers have limits on how many days after the vehicle is reported as stolen that claims can be made, so don’t delay in the hopes it’ll show up.

How to Make an Insurance Claim If Your Car is Stolen 

To make an insurance claim for a stolen vehicle:

  1. Check the terms and conditions of your insurance. Not all car insurance covers vehicle theft, so confirm that it does before preparing a claim.
  2. Get legal advice if you are unsure of how to interpret your insurance contract or don’t know what documents you need for the claim.
  3. For the sake of speed, create a claim online, gathering the necessary documents. This includes, most importantly, the police incident number/report. Incidents that haven’t been brought to the police are usually discarded. 
  4. Provide any additional details required, including all supplementary evidence.
  5. Once the claim is submitted and has been received by the insurance company, expect a lengthy wait as they process the claim. If you have no response after the period specified in the terms and conditions, escalate the claim by following the company’s complaint process.

To make a valid claim, insurance companies require an incident reference from the police. Supplying footage also greatly helps insurance claims of any kind.

What happens when a stolen car is found?

When a stolen car is found and no insurance claims have been made, the car will be taken to a police impound and the owner will be notified. The owner will need to pick up the vehicle after confirming the situation with the insurance company.

In situations where the car is found a long time after the theft and an insurance claim has already been processed, the vehicle belongs to the insurance company until other arrangements have been made. 

Can I Stop My Car From Being Stolen?

Whether or not a car is returned, understanding how to minimize the risk of being a victim to a repeat offense is important moving forward. Here’s how to prevent car theft in future. 

1. Invest in a surveillance system 

You don’t need to break the bank to invest in car security. 

Three ways to use AlfredCamera to set up your old phones as security cameras

In the event of a car theft, security footage can be used to identify the thief and aid police in their investigation. Day to day, monitoring your car 24/7 with ease brings peace of mind.

Time is of the essence when it comes to stolen cars, as they are more likely to be found the sooner they are reported as stolen. Motion detection alerts keep you in the know in real time, so you can act faster in the event of a theft.

2. Install an alarm or siren

Car alarms usually come installed in new cars, though older cars may not have them.

Installing a car alarm may deter thieves from stealing the vehicle if the alarm sounds. Check any vehicle warranty or insurance policy terms before installing to make sure an aftermarket alarm will not void them.

If you unintentionally void your warranty or insurance policy, you might not be covered financially in the event of a theft.

I use Alfred as a basic entrance way view into my home, it’s nice to have total peace of mind while not at home. I also use Alfred as a live car alarm, I love it, it’s better than having a car alarm.

3. Consider a dash cam

In the event of a theft, a camera installed inside a car is a failsafe way to locate it based on the surroundings the camera picks up. This enables you to inform the police of the location.

Dash cams are the most advantageous type of security camera to install in a car. They are just as useful in a theft as they are in an accident, since they can record, stream, and upload exactly what happened in both incidents.

Some dash cams feature dual cameras, so you can see the interior of the car as well. 

Can someone track your car without your knowledge? 

While it is feasible that someone could track your vehicle without you knowing by hiding a tracking device, it is illegal. If you have reason to suspect you are being tracked without your consent, report this to the police immediately. 


As annoying, inconvenient, and upsetting as car theft is, it’s important to stay calm and proceed with a clear head if you experience it. 

Time is of the essence when it comes to car theft, so the faster you act, the more likely you’ll see your vehicle returned to you—or have your insurance claim succeed. 

Follow the steps above to get back to peace of mind as soon as possible.