Vehicle insurance – making a claim if your car or its contents are stolen

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If your car is stolen or something’s taken from your car you may want to make a claim on your motor insurance. This page tells you what you need to know before you make a claim and what to do if there's a delay settling your claim.

Top tips

You may be able to reduce the cost of your insurance if you fit your vehicle with an immobiliser or an alarm. Or you leave it parked in a garage.

Making a claim if your car is stolen

If your car is stolen, even for a short time, tell the police and your insurer immediately and check to see if your policy covers the cost of a replacement vehicle. If you’re paying your premium by instalments you may have to keep paying until your policy is due for renewal.

Your insurer may wait to see if the vehicle is found. If they settle your claim and the vehicle is then found they will keep the vehicle. If your car isn't found your insurer should pay you its market value, which is what you could have sold it for.

If you're not satisfied with how much the insurer offers you, try to prove the car was worth more, by using car price guides or prices in local papers.

An insurance pay-out may end your policy but this depends on the policy. If you paid the full amount up front, you probably won't get the rest of your premium refunded.

Making a claim if your possessions are stolen

If your possessions are stolen from your car you may be able to choose between claiming on your home contents insurance or your vehicle insurance. You can't claim on both.

It may be possible to claim on your home contents insurance if claiming on your vehicle insurance would affect your no claims bonus. A no claims bonus means the cost of your next insurance policy will be cheaper if you don't make a claim during the life of the policy. You can build up no-claims bonuses over several years and it's possible to lower the cost of your insurance by up to 70 per cent.

Delays in settling claims

Claims can take a long time to settle but Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules say that your insurer must either make a reasonable offer of settlement within three months.

There can be delays in settling the claim if neither side admits liability or if the claim isn't fully quantified. This means that there isn't enough written evidence to support the claim. You or the other driver may therefore be asked to send in more evidence. This may mean that the claim takes longer than three months to settle.

Once liability has been admitted and enough evidence has been produced for the claim to be quantified, your insurer should settle the claim within three months.

If it appears there are unreasonably long delays in settling the claim without good reason, you should complain to your insurer using their internal complaints process.

Next steps

Other useful information

  • Motor Insurance Database 0845 165 2800 or by looking at

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Page last reviewed on 20 February 2020