So, your car has been stolen, and you’re still paying finance. Don’t panic!

It’s a horrible feeling, and it can disrupt your whole routine. But things can feel even more confusing if you’re still making payments on the car through finance. This situation can be stressful, but don’t worry—we’re here to help you understand what happens next and the steps you can take to make the situation as stress-free as possible.

What to do if your car has been stolen

It’s time to contact the police

My stolen car is on finance, what happens next?

Do I need to tell the DVLA that my car has been stolen?

Get Back on the Road Faster: Apply for Car Finance with Marsh Today

Here’s how Marsh Finance can help you get back in the driver’s seat

A car with a smashed window.

What to do if Your Car has Been Stolen

Before you jump to conclusions, it’s worth checking if someone you know (a family member or a friend) might have borrowed the car without mentioning it.

If your car has been stolen, it’s important to act immediately. To resolve the situation as quickly as possible, you’ll need to contact the police, your insurance company, and your car finance provider to advise them that your vehicle has been stolen.

Police officers with their jackets in sharp focus displaying 'police'.

It’s Time to Contact the Police

While a stolen car feels like a big emergency, the best way to report it is by calling the police on the non-emergency number 101. This will free up the emergency line for more urgent situations.

The more details you can give the police, the better chance they have of finding your car. Here’s what they’ll need:

  • The basics: Make, model, colour, and registration number of your car.
  • Identifying details: This includes the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is like a fingerprint for your car. You can usually find it on the driver’s side door jamb or under the hood.
  • Stand-out features: Did you add any special touches to your car? Mention any custom paint jobs, spoilers, unique rims, or anything else that makes it easily recognisable.
  • The details: Date, time, and location where you last saw your car.
  • The situation: Did you notice anything unusual beforehand? Were there signs of forced entry into your car or home? Did you accidentally leave your keys inside?
  • Your information: Your name, contact details, and address. Include the names of anyone else who can legally drive your car.
  • The paperwork: Proof of ownership documents like your V5C logbook and your car finance agreement (if applicable).

Everything you share helps the police build a strong case and find your car faster. The more details you give, the better! Reporting car theft also allows the police to track patterns in your area, which can prevent other people from having the same experience in the future.

The police will give you a crime reference number. Write this down! You’ll need it when you contact your finance and insurance companies about the stolen car. The good news is that the police will also notify the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) about the theft and again when they find your car. This saves you a job!

The next step is to contact your insurance company

Letting them know your car is stolen is important because:

  • It gets the claim process rolling – the faster you report it, the smoother things will go. Most insurance companies have deadlines for reporting thefts, so it’s best to call them right away.
  • It protects you—by reporting the theft quickly, you avoid any chance of being responsible for damage caused by the thief after they steal the car.
  • They might be able to help—your insurance company might have tips and support to help you get back on your feet after a car theft.

If you provide your insurance company with all the information they need and the crime reference number to prove your case, they’ll have three months from the date you contacted them to settle your claim. If they need further information from you, the claims process may take a little longer. This usually only happens if the claim is for an accident, and they debate who is to blame.

They’ll review your claim and let you know their decision. If everything goes smoothly, they’ll work with you to get any money you’re owed. If they deny your claim, they’ll explain why and let you know if you can appeal the decision.

Your insurer should pay you the market rate for the stolen car. This is usually the amount you would receive if you had sold the vehicle, considering its age, mileage, and overall condition. If you have a vintage car, they should pay you the valuation that was agreed in your insurance policy.

If you’re unhappy with the amount your insurer offers you, you can challenge their decision.

A toy car next to stacks of coins against a light background.

My Stolen Car is on Finance, What Happens Next?

We know this might be the last thing on your mind, but if your car was financed, contact your lender next. Similar to your insurance, your finance agreement probably says you need to tell them right away if your vehicle is stolen or damaged. They might charge you extra fees or even break the contract if you don’t. This could affect your credit score.

Having the police report and crime reference number from your insurance company will be helpful when you talk to them about the stolen car.

If your stolen vehicle is later found by the police and returned to you, you’ll need to contact your insurance company so they can provide a letter confirming this. However, if your car isn’t recovered, you’ll need to pay off the remaining balance on your HP finance (Hire Purchase) or PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) car finance loan with the insurance payout amount.

Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t always cover the total amount owed on a financed car. You’ll be responsible for the difference if there’s a gap between what your insurance pays and what you still owe. Don’t panic, though! Here are some options:

  • Talk to your lender: They might be able to work out a payment plan to make things more manageable. They may also offer assistance with insurance claims to help you mitigate the financial impact of the loss.
  • Consolidate with a new loan: You can try rolling the remaining balance into a new car loan.
The logo for the DVLA.

Do I need to Tell the DVLA That my Car has Been Stolen?

The police will usually tell the DVLA your car is stolen, but there’s one more thing you might need to do. If your insurance company pays you for the stolen car, you must update the DVLA. Here’s how:

  1. Find the yellow ‘sell’ section: Look in your V5C registration document (also called your logbook) for the perforated yellow section titled “Sell, Transfer or Part-Exchange your Vehicle to the Motor Trade.”
  2. Fill it out: Complete this section and send it to the DVLA, along with a letter explaining:
    • The date you received the payout from your insurance company.
    • The amount you received.
    • The name of your insurance company.
  3. Send the rest of the V5C to your insurer: They might need it too.

Don’t have your V5C anymore? No problem! Just write a letter to the DVLA explaining the situation. Include:

  • Your insurance company details.
  • The date you reported the theft.
  • Your car’s registration number, make, model, and colour.

If your stolen car had a private registration number, you can get it transferred to a new car, but there are a few catches:

  • Wait a year: You’ll need to wait at least a year after the theft is reported.
  • Proof of theft: Have the police report and crime reference number handy.
  • Insurance happy? Get a letter from your insurance company saying they approve the transfer.
  • Roadworthy car: The stolen car must have been legal to drive at the time of the theft ( taxed and with a valid MOT).
A woman shows car keys to the camera, by leaning her arm out of the window.

Get Back on the Road Faster: Apply for Car Finance with Marsh Today

A stolen car is a stressful experience, but getting back on the road doesn’t have to be. Here at Marsh Finance, we understand the urgency of replacing your vehicle.

That’s why we’ve made getting car finance quick, easy, and hassle-free.


Two hands connect in a handshake.

Here’s how Marsh Finance can Help you get Back in the Driver’s Seat:

Don’t let a stolen car setback delay your life. Apply for car finance with Marsh Finance today and get back on the road faster.

We’re here to support you during this challenging time. Get a free, no-obligation quote in just 30 seconds!