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Q620: My car has been stolen, what should I do?

Informing the Police

You should contact the police using the non-emergency 101 number although if you consider the situation an emergency then use 999. The police may not send an officer out and you may be dealt with via the telephone. They will give you a crime reference number – you'll need this when you contact your insurance company to inform them what has happened or if you want to claim back your vehicle tax. The police will tell DVLA about the theft and if the vehicle is found.

If there is any evidence, for example CCTV or items left behind by the thieves that may contain fingerprints then inform the police. Use gloves when handling any item for fingerprint examination and do not handle it any more than necessary.

If the thieves are arrested and charged with the offence then in appropriate circumstances they will appear before the court and be dealt with.

See Q622 for more information on your rights as a victim of a crime.

Informing your insurance company and the DVLA

Inform your insurance company of what has happened as soon as possible and keep them informed of any developments. They will explain what you need to do and how you can make an insurance claim.

If your insurance company pay your claim you need to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) you no longer own the vehicle. You can do this by:

  • completing section 9 of your registration document (V5C) and sending it to the DVLA together with a letter stating when the payment was accepted and including details of the insurance company, or
  • online via the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/sold-bought-vehicle

You will then need to send the remaining part of the V5C to your insurance company. If your insurer ask you to send the whole of the V5C to them, send a letter to the DVLA providing details of the insurance company, the date of the claim and the following information about your vehicle:

  • registration number
  • make
  • model
  • colour

You must also include your signature.

DVLA contact details are as follows:

Customer enquiries: 0300 790 6802
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm
Saturday, 8am to 2pm
Email: https://live.email-dvla.service.gov.uk/w2c/en_gb/decisions/Vehicle%20Enquiries

or write to:

Vehicle customer services
DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1AR

If your vehicle has a private registration number and you want to keep it, you must get it back before you tell the DVLA you no longer own the vehicle – see the section below.

Obtain a refund on your car tax

The DVLA will cancel your car tax as soon as you tell them you no longer own the vehicle – if necessary this includes cancelling your direct debit.

Private registration numbers

You can only get a private registration number back if the following apply:

  • You must have reported the theft to the police.
  • DVLA must have recorded the vehicle as stolen for at least 12 months but no longer than 3 years.
  • The vehicle must have been taxed and had an MOT at the time of theft.

Note that you can't get a personalised registration number back if you claimed on your insurance and told the DVLA you sold the vehicle to your insurer.

If your vehicle is recovered and you or your insurer decide to sell/destroy it, you must complete form V317 (see link below) and send it to the DVLA if you want keep/transfer a private registration number.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-to-transfer-or-retain-a-vehicle-registration-number

You won't automatically receive a tax refund – you'll have to apply for one using form V33, which you can obtain from the DVLA via the contact details shown above.

Once you've got your private registration number back you can tell the DVLA you no longer own the vehicle – see Informing your insurance company and the DVLA.

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