Robbers are robbing cars. Parked in the night parking

What to Do If Your Car Is Stolen

It’s a scene that none of us want to picture ourselves in – you wake up and get ready to head out for another day of hard graft, but when you head outside, your car is nowhere to be found. Stolen in the dead of night, someone’s made off with your hard-earned property and left you majorly out of pocket and, depending on what you use the vehicle for, maybe even out of a job.

With crime rates hitting their highest for 20 years while charge rates simultaneously reach new lows, it’s both more likely that your car could be targeted next and essential that you know how to react swiftly if it happens.

A thief looks through a car window with a torch

What Happens When Your Car Is Stolen Then Found?

So you’ve informed the police and your insurance company and, in the hours, days or sometimes even weeks after your car is stolen, you’re sure to be holding out hope for that call from the police telling you that the vehicle has been located. If you’re lucky enough to get that phone call, there are two possible avenues that the situation will now go down.

If Your Insurance Company Have NOT Paid Out

After your car has been nicked, you’ll want to immediately notify the police, followed by your insurance company. From that moment, there will be a set time period – usually 30 days – for the vehicle to be recovered. If it is found within the allotted time, your vehicle will be collected and securely stored by the police, who will inform you of when and where you can pick it up and take it home. However, there are fees to pay for the storage of the car, so don’t hang around. In fact, after two weeks in storage, the car will be disposed of entirely!

If Your Insurance Company Have Paid Out

On the other hand, your local, spread-too-thin police force may not be able to recover your car within the time frame. If you’re unfortunate enough for this to be the case, then as long as your insurance covers you for more than just third-party damage, they will pay you a lump sum of cash to the market value of the missing motor.

However, as much as we’d like to tell you that once the car is recovered, you get the money and the vehicle, that’s unfortunately not the case. Although it may not feel like one, the payout from your insurance company is actually a transaction and as such, the recovered vehicle now belongs to them! If you’re really attached to your vehicle, it might be worth asking to buy it back from them. We have another blog post dedicated to explaining insurance buy backs.

Can You Refuse To Take Your Stolen Car Back?

When your car is recovered by the police and ready to be released back to you, you’re sure to have some conflicting emotions. Yes, your precious vehicle is back with you, but the people who took it are probably still on the run and who knows what kind of damage they’ve done to it? Plus, you may not feel comfortable having it sitting on your driveway in case they want to come back and have another crack at it! So can you tell the insurance company to keep it and pay out the value to you instead?

Unfortunately not. Unless the car is deemed to have been damaged beyond economical repair (and therefore classed as a write off) it still belongs to you and the insurance company is under no obligation to ‘buy’ it off you.

How Can You Prevent Your Car Radio From Being Stolen?

It’s not just the car itself that might end up being taken by an opportunistic criminal; even if they can’t get the engine running, simply by getting inside it presents them with the chance to steal your possessions, including one of the most commonly-nicked items: the radio. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take some simple precautions to stop these people from even gaining access to your car in the first place.

  • Park Somewhere Safe: It’s a shame that car owners have to take this kind of responsibility to stop others from tampering with their cars, but one of the best ways to prevent theft is to park in a well-lit area. The extra visibility will deter would-be thieves who will be fearful of getting caught doing things that they shouldn’t be.
  • Check the Doors: Even after you’ve pressed the ‘lock’ button on your key fob, you should double-check that the doors are indeed secure. All it needs is one door to not quite be shut properly for the entire central locking system to fail.
  • Cover It: Now, we’re not suggesting that you throw a jacket or blanket over your dashboard. If that was the case, you might as well attach a note reading “FREE RADIO” to let burglars know that there’s one up for grabs. Instead, you may want to purchase a radio cover. These simple, cheap devices disguise your radio, hiding it in plain sight so that from the outside, it looks like there’s nothing interesting on the dashboard worth taking.
  • Don’t Advertise: Similarly to the previous point, it’s a very bad idea to leave valuables on display in your car. This is a message that’s signposted around car parks all over the UK, and for good reason. If you’ve got something expensive sitting in your car, some would say you’re asking for trouble…
  • Secure Your Keys: It goes without saying that if you don’t want people to break into your car, don’t let them get hold of your keys. But, with most cars now using central locking systems, crooks have methods of replicating the signal sent by your key fob and deploying it near your car as a way of getting in key free. To counter this, you can keep your keys inside some kind of container that blocks these signals.

You can’t choose where you live based on car theft figures, but some cities are worse than others, so bear that in mind whenever you wonder if you’re being too careful.

Which Cars Are Most Likely To Have Their Catalytic Converter Stolen?

Any vehicle could be targeted by ‘cat’ converter thieves, but there are two types of car that might catch their eye more than others. Hybrid cars are appreciated by robbers because, while they still have a catalytic converter, they use it far less than a standard fossil fuel-only car. This means that the component will suffer from wear and tear at a much slower rate than a regular car and is likely to still be in a decent condition once removed.

The other at-risk type of car is the 4×4, although this is for a far more practical reason. To extract a catalytic converter, the thief would need to get under the car. Of course, without jacking it up (which is far from discreet) this will be a challenge in itself for smaller, lower cars. 4x4s are naturally raised higher from the ground, allowing a person to get a good look at it from underneath with ease.

Received your car back in a state that you’re just not happy with? Can’t shake the feeling someone else took it for a joyride at your expense? You might be best off selling it and getting something new, and Scrap Car Comparison can help you with that. We’ll find you the best prices to sell your car as scrap or salvage and you can have money in the bank within just a few days.

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