How to find stolen cars

Buying a stolen vehicle isn’t much fun. And it’s not just a myth that stolen vehicles get snatched back and leave you out of pocket… it’s in fact surprisingly common.

Even if you buy a stolen vehicle and isn’t recovered immediately, you probably won’t get to keep the vehicle for as long as you might think – the police and insurer databases will quickly place a “stolen” marker on it. And that means if you take the vehicle out on the roads it’ll get flagged by an ANPR camera, which may result in you being prosecuted.

What’s more, the police have the power to reclaim a stolen vehicle at any time, and give it back to the original owner (or, more likely, to hand it over to their insurer).

It’s likely you won’t get any compensation for buying a stolen car either − although your insurer may pay out to cover what you paid, but this is NOT guaranteed (check your car insurance policy wording carefully – more below).

Table of Contents

Why should I bother with a stolen car check?

A stolen car check gives you the peace of mind that what you’re buying isn’t someone else’s rightful property.

If it is somebody else’s vehicle, the police will recover it and leave you out of pocket.

It’s often impossible to tell if a vehicle is stolen by looking at it – it could be impeccably clean inside and out like any other car for example – but what lies underneath can only be discovered with a paid data check. This type of information is NOT available for free anywhere, so be aware of providers claiming to offer a ‘free stolen check’.

What is actually checked with a Police Stolen Check?

Free Car Check uses the Police National Database (PND) and VOSA, among other sources to verify if any vehicle is stolen. To check it, all we need is the VRM (reg plate). All our vehicle stolen checks will check for, among other things, the following:

    Check by registration number or chassis number

With a Vehicle History Check you can detect a stolen vehicle, before parting with your hard earned cash.

How to find stolen cars

Stolen vehicles are notoriously hard to spot, so make sure you’re not another victim!

Things You MUST Do, To Avoid Buying a Stolen Vehicle

In the UK, the onus to check if a vehicle is stolen falls on the purchaser (i.e. that’s you!).

Remember that even if the stolen vehicle was unknowingly purchased, the police can still grab the vehicle, and money-lenders can even demand that you pay them interest in the event that it had been on a finance plan – this is entirely legal.

When purchasing a vehicle there are various things that you must do as a precaution:

  • Check the V5C − Ask for a copy of it, be bold and don’t be afraid as you’re the one making the purchase and stand to lose out if the V5 is fraudulent. If there are excuses about where the V5 document is, then ask to see it later. Check for the DVLA watermark to make sure that it’s a genuine document and not a forgery. Read more tips on how to check if the V5 is genuine here.
  • If you can, check that the VIN number matches up to those recorded on the V5C.
  • Check that the seller is genuine − Ensure the vendor’s location on the V5C matches their driving licence, or an ID or a utility bill – or ideally, all three. Do not be afraid to ask!

What do I do if my vehicle has been stolen?

If the worst comes to the worst and you didn’t order a stolen car check and now realise you’ve bought a “ringed” or stolen car, then don’t panic. Firstly, keep a calm head. Tell the police AND your insurance company straight away if your car has been stolen. You can also apply for a vehicle tax refund afterwards – find out more here.

  1. Call your local police station
    Dial ‘101’ and ask to be put through to your local police. Make sure you have the following details: registration number, make, model, colour. You’ll get a crime reference number – you’ll need this when you tell your insurance company or to claim back your vehicle tax. The police should tell the DVLA about the theft and if the vehicle is found.
  2. Call your insurance company
    Your insurance company will tell you how to make an insurance claim.
  3. Tell the DVLA anyway
    If your insurance company pays out a claim for your stolen vehicle, you must tell DVLA it’s been sold to the insurance company. You can also complete the ‘notification of sale or transfer’ V5C/3 section of your V5C registration certificate and send it to DVLA.You should include a letter saying when the payment was accepted and details of the insurance company.You’ll need to give the remaining part of the V5C to the insurance company.If your insurance company asks for the whole of the V5C registration certificate then you’ll need to send a letter to the DVLA including: the details of your insurance company, the date of the claim, your registration number, the make, model and colour of your vehicle and your signature. Post your letter to:
    DVLA,Swansea,SA99 1BD

Will I Get my Money Back if I Buy a Stolen Car?

It depends. In most cases, no. If your insurance company does provide coverage for purchase of stolen vehicles, they will investigate first (which can take several months) and then confirm if they’ll pay out or not. They will take steps to rule out all possibilities of fraud—they want to make sure that the vehicle is genuinely stolen. Believe it or not, there is quite a lot of insurance fraud in this area too.

Their adjuster will contact you and might ask you questions, such as where did you buy it, what checks did you do, and os on. There may be a waiting period as long as 4 weeks or more, assuming no issues, and depending on the specific insurer.

If the insurance company determines that your car was bought in good faith as a stolen car, and the policy is valid, then they may reimburse you some of the costs of buying the car, but not always.

In fact, with many cases we’ve heard, insurers find any excuse to avoid paying out – they are money-making businesses, and employ risk assessors, so you’d have to have a very good reason for buying a stolen vehicle and receiving a refund on the costs. But if you do manage it, you’ll receive a cheque or bank transfer (BACS) minus any other costs.

Does all that sound like fun? Not really. Remember to order a car history check before buying ANY used car.

Is there such a thing as a Free Stolen Check?

Yes. run a free stolen car check, but be aware of the limitations.

If you are buying a used car then finding out if it has ever been stolen or not, is a good idea.

But it’s generally not enough. You need to also verify if the vehicle has ever been involved in an accident, been re-sprayed or cut-and-shut, and so on. All of these checks are available from us for a per-vehicle price of just £9.95.

How we can help…

Here at FreeCarCheck we will verify the history of any UK vehicle instantly – 24 hours a day. All you need to do is enter the vehicle’s registration number (VRM) that you are looking to buy, and we’ll show you everything from its MOT history, right up to if it has even been stolen, or written off.

Have you ever had your car stolen? If you have, were you able to locate and recover it? Some studies are coming out now offering new insights into the unfortunate situations regarding stolen cars and recovery. It seems vehicle theft continues to be a problem. And current analytics suggest there’s a one in five chance you’ll recover your car after it’s been taken.

Some of the data regarding stolen cars and stolen car recovery

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is offering reports already indicating car thefts are up in 2021, reversing a two-year decline. In actual numbers, that’s roughly 73,000 more stolen cars. In Washington D.C. alone, roughly 50 cars are reported stolen every day. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), around $6.4 billion was lost entirely to motor vehicle theft in 2019 overall. Getting the car back after it’s been taken is an entirely different set of dynamics that you might find startling.

Since it’s hard to predict how a thief might think, it’s hard to say if they plan to keep your stolen car. Based on other stats provided by the Recovery Network, the most important factor that leads to recovery is where the vehicle is found.

There’s a 20% chance your vehicle was stolen only for a joyride, offering a 12% chance your car comes back unharmed. Data suggests 30% of stolen cars end up being used in other crimes, including parted out for cash at area chop shops.

The stolen car in question is 50% likely to end up on the black market in rare, classic, or exotic car scenarios. Statista reported that for 2019, the recovery rate was roughly 56.1%. However, overall, there is a one in five likelihood that you’ll get your car back, which seems pretty low.

Why do the stolen car recovery rates seem so low?

About 1/3 of stolen vehicles ever recovered come back to their owners with $1,000 worth of damage. One in three is estimated to come back beyond repair altogether. So, why do these recovery rates seem so low? Is it possible vehicle owners are quick to process insurance claims and move on without pursuing recovery beyond a certain time? Are there bad-apple car owners out there making a profit on their insurance claims? It’s hard to say.

There are reasons to support higher rates of vehicle returns, including the existence of state and national databases law enforcement use, making it harder to “hide” or sell a vehicle that has been stolen. And there are incredible tales of stolen cars finding their ways back to their original owners, sometimes decades later.

How long before it is actually found and returned?

On average, law enforcement can typically find a stolen car with 48 hours of reporting it stolen. But some cars take much, much longer to make their way back to their owners’ garages. One such story featured a stolen Ferrari 308 GTS supercar that, in a crazy turn of events, ended up on consignment after a trip to Poland and returning to its owner some 30 years later. It’s a stolen car recovery tale that doesn’t represent the norm, but it certainly offers some hope to those still missing their beloved cars.

Your first line of defense to recovering your stolen car is to try and avoid theft in the first place. There are great anti-theft devices on today’s vehicles that might help, but basic steps like closing the garage door at night, keeping your vehicle doors locked at all times, and parking in secure areas whenever possible will help reduce the risks.

When Buying a Vehicle, Don’t Get “Taken for a Ride”

Use NICB’s Free VINCheck ® Service

How to find stolen cars

NICB’s VINCheck is a free service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle has been reported as stolen, but not recovered, or has been reported as a salvage vehicle by cooperating NICB member insurance companies. To perform a search, a vehicle identification number (VIN) is required. A maximum of five searches can be conducted within a 24-hour period per IP address.

Beware of “Cloned” Vehicles

Vehicle cloning is a highly lucrative crime. Enterprising criminals can copy a VIN from a legally owned and documented vehicle sitting in a parking lot, on the street or at a vehicle dealership. The copied VIN is then used to create counterfeit VIN tags. Car thieves often travel across state and international borders to sell vehicles at the highest prices. Because most licensing agencies do not check for duplicate ownership when an out-of-state ownership document is surrendered, the odds of discovery are fairly low.

Here’s How the Scam Works

  • The criminal steals a vehicle similar to the one with the legitimate VIN.
  • The stolen vehicle’s true VIN tag is replaced with the counterfeit VIN tag, making the stolen vehicle a “clone” of the original.
  • The criminal sells the “cloned” vehicle to an unsuspecting buyer, typically using counterfeit ownership documents or documentation they have obtained under false pretenses.

Avoid Being Taken

  • If you buy a “cloned” vehicle, it is never really yours. If and when the VIN-switch is discovered, the car you paid for will be confiscated and returned to the original owner or the insurance company if a theft claim has already been paid.
  • Be careful about purchasing a used vehicle from someone you don’t know who is running an online ad and using a cell phone number.
  • Check the vehicle’s VIN with appropriate government agencies or your state bureau of motor vehicles.
  • Conduct a title search of the vehicle.
  • Analyze the ownership pattern for any new or late-model vehicle with no lien holder (i.e., no outstanding car loans – the seller tells you the car is “paid off”).
  • If possible, ask someone from your insurance company to inspect the vehicle prior to purchase.
  • Trust your instincts – if you don’t like the answers you’re hearing or if the deal sounds too good to be true, walk away!

Water and Vehicles Don’t Mix: Don’t Get “Flooded Out”

A “flood vehicle” is one that has been completely or partially submerged in water to the extent that its body, engine, transmission or other mechanical component parts have been damaged. If the vehicle is damaged to the point of being inoperable, the owner’s insurance company will settle the claim for a total loss and then sell the vehicle as a “salvage” vehicle at an auto auction.

In some cases, dishonest dealers and other individuals can buy these vehicles, dry and clean them and sell them to unsuspecting buyers as used vehicles. Many of these vehicles come on the market after natural disasters, such as storms, hurricanes or other natural disasters involving flooding. Dishonest dealers often transport these vehicles to other states and fraudulently obtain a “clean” title (a crime called “title washing”).

Owners who do not have insurance covering vehicle flood damage can clean up their vehicle and offer it for sale themselves, without disclosing the damage. Because they did not report a loss to an insurance company, they will still have the original “clean” title for their vehicle.

Don’t Purchase a “Washed-up” Vehicle: Take these Preventive Measures

  • Don’t Purchase a “Washed-up” Vehicle: Take these Preventive Measures
  • Buy from a reputable car dealer.
  • Inspect the vehicle thoroughly – look for water stains, mildew, and sand or silt under the carpets, floor mats, headliner cloth and behind the dashboard.
  • Check for recently shampooed carpet.
  • Inspect the interior upholstery and door panels for fading.
  • Check for rust on screws in the console or areas where water normally wouldn’t reach.
  • Check for mud or grit in the spare tire compartment, alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses, around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.
  • Check inside the seatbelt retractors by pulling the seatbelt all the way out and inspect for moisture, mildew or grime.
  • Check door speakers, which are frequently damaged by flooding.
  • Look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Pull back the rubber “boots” around electrical and mechanical connections for these indicators. Ferrous (containing iron) materials will show signs of rust; copper will show a green patina; aluminum and alloys will have a white powder and pitting.
  • Ask about the vehicle’s history, and whether it has been in any accidents or floods.
  • Inspect the title and ownership papers for any potential or questionable salvage fraud.
  • Conduct a title search of the vehicle.
  • Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle prior to purchasing it.
  • Trust your instincts – if you don’t like the answers you’re hearing or if the deal sounds too good to be true, walk away!

Download Vehicle Resources

You can find more information in NICB’s “Vehicle Cloning” brochure (English or Spanish).

These are in PDF format. If you don’t have it already installed, download Adobe Reader .

There are many tips on how you can track your stolen car embedded in this article. Do well to read it finish to have an idea on how you can recover a stolen vehicle in Nigeria, whether with a tracker or not.

With the rate of insecurity in Nigeria, it is not uncommon to see a car getting stolen from the owner. There are many cases of cars stolen from garages and stores of the owners or even snatched from the owner with a gun.

This is usually a sad and horror experience for the owner whose car just get stolen. Instead of staying sad, there are many ways you can use to recover and track your stolen car from these thieves. But Before we discussed how to find your missing vehicle, let’s talk about how you can detect a stolen car using VIN. This will prevent you from buying a stolen car.

How To Detect A Stolen Car by using Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and Others

Most stolen vehicles or Cars are usually sold to unsuspecting buyers on pretense by these thieves. This is extremely harmful to the individual, hence, it’s important to know how to detect a stolen car.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is one of the commonly used numbers in detecting stolen cars. VIN is normally written almost in all parts of a vehicle or car. It’s usually a tiny inscription close to the engine, windscreen, and in other parts of the car. This number is unique to every car and can be used to recognize a car. Although, most thieves will scratch the inscription away, or get rid of it. Once a car does not have a VIN or it is already scratched, then you should be suspicious and careful in buying the car.

Another way to detect a stolen car is by checking the plate number. The plate number will be rare to find as most thieves will have removed the plate number. And if it’s still there, you can compare it to the plate numbers used in your state. If it’s a stolen car, it’s likely going to be from another state or area. This is because most thieves will sell the stolen car far away from the area to avoid being caught.

Checking the car tyres expiration date can also be used in detecting and locating a stolen vehicle. Unlike the VIN and plate number, it’s uncommon for thieves to change the car’s tyres or scratch out the expiry date. If you are suspecting that a car was stolen, this can be a way to locate a stolen car.

Now that you know how to detect stolen cars, let’s get down to tips on how to track a stolen car in Nigeria. Below is the list of ways you can use to find a missing vehicle.

How to Track A Stolen Car With/Without Tracker

How can I track my car if it is stolen? To recover a stolen car in Nigeria, there are many ways to go through it. There is no single effective method, but combining all the below-listed approaches will help to find the missing vehicle quickly.

1. File a Complaints With The Police

Many victims of car theft are usually disorganized and sad. This state can prevent the victim from doing needful. So, we advised you to report to the nearest police station, if your car is missing.

  • Vehicle Documents for proof of ownership
  • The plate number of the car
  • Driver’s License
  • National ID Card or another Identification card
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Use of Car tracking device and other related devices
  • Description of the car (this is including the brand of the car, color, year, model, and other necessary details)
  • The Last time the car was seen and location
  • Suspected person(s) who carried out the theft (if Known)

Answering these questions well and to the best of your ability will improve the chances of finding a stolen car.

2. Visit Your Car Insurance Service Provider

Car owners are expected to register with an insurance service provider because of situations like this. If you have done this before your car was stolen, then this will be easy to do. Your auto insurance company will likely help you to find or track your stolen car. Or better still find some other plausible options for you.

3. Inform the Public, Friends, and Family

When you face something as terrible as that, you should not keep quiet. Tell people about your stolen car, friends, family, colleagues, and the general public. Give a vivid description of the car to them, in case they came across it. You never can tell whose information can help with recovering your stolen vehicle.

4. Inform Drivers and Other Transport Worker

Most drivers are known for traveling long distances. They take trips to different places by the virtue of their work. You can visit a driver friend or garage to show your car pictures to them or even give a detailed description of this.

5. Visiting Car Dealer

One of the best ways to track your stolen car in Nigeria is by visiting car dealers in your area. Most thieves always sell stolen cars rather than use them. And the car dealers are the primary party they sell to.

Visiting a car dealer and informing him about your stolen vehicle is an important step to find a stolen car especially without a tracker.

6. Car Tracker and Related Devices

Car trackers and other related devices are very effective when you need to track your stolen car. This is especially when the thief is yet to disengage it from the motor part. If you have it fitted in your car and you have synchronized the car navigation system with your phone. It will be very easy. You just need to trace the car or better still seek the help of an expert or involve the police.

With the above-mentioned tips, recovering your stolen vehicle should not be hard. What do you think about our article on how to track a stolen vehicle in Nigeria? Do you find it helpful? Kindly drop your comment below.

Recovering a stolen vehicle can be difficult. But with Stolen Vehicle Assistance, Hum agents can help authorities track down your car. Using real-time location services, we can report the vehicle’s whereabouts to law enforcement, helping them get it back for you.

Get help fast

Once you report the theft to the police, give Hum your police report number and our agents will work with law enforcement to locate your vehicle as quickly and safely as possible.

How to find stolen cars

How do I use the Stolen Vehicle Assistance feature?

If your car has been stolen, you must first file a police report. Then, you can contact Hum Customer Service at (800) 711-5800 and provide the case number from the report. We’ll attempt to determine your vehicle’s GPS location using the Vehicle Location feature to assist law enforcement in their recovery efforts. We can’t help you unless a police report number is provided. For more information, please refer to Hum’s terms of use at

Who can see my Vehicle Location?

The Primary Account Holder and Hum Customer Service Agents can view the locations of any Hum equipped vehicle. Family Members can also have visibility of any vehicle shared by the Primary Account Owner.

When does Hum use my GPS location?

Hum + /Hum ×
Hum + & Hum × uses GPS for features including Safety Score, Vehicle Location, Driving History, Boundary Alerts, Pinpoint Roadside Assistance and Crash Response. These features identify the GPS location of the vehicle where the Hum OBD Reader is installed.

Hum App
The Hum App uses your GPS location for Safety Score and the navigation features.

To change how Hum uses your GPS location, you can remove the Hum Hardware from your vehicle or edit your smartphone’s privacy settings.

How to find stolen cars

Language: English | Español

Activation and equipment fees apply for Hum + and Hum × . Other taxes and fees apply. New activations may be subject to credit review. Two year subscription may be required for Hum + and Hum × , in which case you may cancel the service for any reason within 14 days of activation. Beginning day 15, early termination fee of up to $120 for Hum + /$175 for Hum × applies. Hum × is only available via Verizon Wireless; Hum × service operates on 4G LTE network only and requires data usage. Not all products are available in all areas. Pinpoint Roadside Assistance provided by Signature Motor Club, Inc., up to 4 events per year. Many services require GPS service and/or network availability, not available in all locations. Not all incidents or problems will be detected. Compatible vehicle model restrictions apply. Automotive services not available everywhere. © 2019 Verizon. All rights reserved.

Every year tens of thousands of vehicles are stolen across the UK, with many of these sold on to unknowing drivers. With so many stolen cars for sale on the second-hand market, it’s incredibly important that you undergo a stolen car check before buying any used vehicle.

If you buy a stolen car, even unwittingly, you will not have legal ownership of the vehicle meaning you’ll lose the car and the money you paid when it’s recovered by the police. This is why a stolen vehicle check is so important to do before buying any used car.

How to Find Out if a Car is Stolen

The easiest way to check if a car is stolen is with an HPI Check. At HPI we get our information from police records, specifically the Police National Computer (PNC). This allows us to identify stolen cars for sale and of interest to the police. We identify 109 cars per day as currently recorded stolen with the police.

Get an Instant HPI Check

As part of an instant HPI Check, whether or not the car is recorded as stolen will be included in the report, along with up to 80 other data points. Simply enter the registration plate and choose between a basic, HPI or Multicheck (checks three vehicles). Any one of these checks includes a stolen car check as standard.

Check if a car is stolen by getting an HPI Check on any vehicle you’re looking to purchase. Our stolen cars check, included as part of an HPI Check offers reliable and trustworthy results that can save you money in the long run.


HPI is the market leading supplier of technology driven data solutions to the automotive market, combining industry and unique data sets to create innovative and powerful solutions underpinned by outstanding customer service.

To determine if a vehicle has been towed or impounded by the City of Chicago, enter either the license plate, VIN , or other details about the vehicle.

You can also determine if a vehicle has been reported stolen to the Chicago Police Department. For example, if you see an unfamiliar vehicle parked on your block or a vehicle that has been left in a parking lot/garage for an extended period of time, enter the license plate or VIN to determine if it has been reported stolen to the Chicago Police Department.

If you identify a stolen vehicle CALL 911. Do not endanger yourself.

Now you can help the police locate and recover stolen vehicle more rapidly by running the license plate vehicle to determine if it has been reported stolen to the Chicago Police Department.

Use CLEARmap to help identify areas of possible risk for Motor Vehicle Theft. You can search for reported Motor Vehicle Theft incidents (and any other crime) by beat, intersection, or address. Click here for CLEARmap.

Follow these tips to help reduce the chance of being an auto theft victim: – Always close and lock your doors and windows before you leave your vehicle. – Never Leave your keys in your vehicle when it is unattended. – Car keys should not be hung on keyboards in the home or be visible through windows, they should be kept in a secure place – Do not leave valuables unattended in vehicle. – Ownership and insurance cards should not be left in your vehicle when it is unattended. – Park in well-lighted and well traveled areas.

How to find stolen cars

Android Automotive was first tested on a Volvo XC40. (photo: Volvo)

JAKARTA – Google has just tested their latest Android Automotive system, an advanced version of Android Auto integrated into cars. The system is also claimed to be able to find cars that have been stolen.

Quoted from T3, Thursday, August 18, Android Automotive was first tested on a Volvo XC40 and was quite impressive with how well the system integrates with the rest of the car. Unlike Android Auto, which is an app running on the car’s infotainment system, Android Automotive is the entire operating system.

Another advantage, the driver does not need a smartphone installed or even in the car. The user profile will be automatically saved in the system.

Nowadays, vehicles are an easy target for thieves and of course the driver’s personal data is also lost, car manufacturers know that is a big problem and that is why some car vendors are now equipping their products with tracking and immobilizing systems. Interestingly, Google is also starting to work on a new feature that will come in handy if your car is stolen.

The APK file of Google Find My Device currently works to erase driver data from stolen vehicles even if they are remotely. This feature can be controlled via an Android phone. This will not only stop thieves from finding out personal information, but it can also lock profiles, and then only allow connections as long as the driver uses a password when logging in.

In addition, Google also wants to embed a profile lock feature even if the car is offline, with limited access when the engine is turned on. In the future, it can even view the GPS position of the car added to the Find My Device app, allowing law enforcement to track it, with the option to shut down the car system completely. However, it is not yet known when Google will launch this system, as the company has just started testing the feature.

If it’s your first time experiencing theft, you may not know where to start or what to do when your car is stolen. With the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) releasing reports of increasing vehicle theft reversing a two-year decline , you’re probably not the only one.

So, where do you begin when you find yourself staring at an empty parking spot? In the next 24 hours, you’ll need to take the following steps to help recover your vehicle and make sure you have done everything necessary for your insurance coverage.

How To Report a Stolen Car in 6 Steps

Knowing exactly what to do when your car is stolen will help local authorities and speed up the vehicle recovery process. Follow these six steps to collect the information you’ll need to handle all aspects of the situation.

1. Take a deep breath.

The first thing to do is to take a deep breath. It’s not uncommon for people to think their car has been stolen when in fact it’s been towed, or a family member merely borrowed it to go to the store. Cover several bases first and make a few calls. To be sure your car hasn’t been towed, you can call your local impound or police department to see if they have your vehicle.

2. Call the police and file a report.

Once you’re sure the vehicle has been stolen, your first call should be to the police. Be prepared to provide specific details, including:

  • Make, model, year
  • License plate number
  • Driver’s license
  • VIN
  • Items potentially stolen
  • Distinct vehicle features
  • Any information about an installed GPS or tracking system , if you have one
  • Circumstances of theft, such as where and when you saw your vehicle last.

3. File a claim with your insurance company.

Your next call should be to your insurance company. It’s important to call the police department first as many insurance providers will not honor a claim unless it is reported.

When filing a claim, you will be asked to provide the same information provided to the police department. In addition, you may be asked to include details in a theft questionnaire, such as a copy of the police report and case number. As for payment, some insurers require you pay a deductible regardless of recovery status.

4. If you currently use a recovery service, make them aware of the situation.

GPS or stolen vehicle recovery systems will often have a phone number or hotline to call in the event your vehicle is stolen.

5. Inform you Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

It’s essential to contact your local DMV after 30 days. Documenting the change in ownership due to theft will waive any responsibility for accrued fees, such as parking violations. The process and forms will vary from state to state. It is important to note that you do not need to procure a Planned Non-Operation (PNO) certification during this time.

6. Be patient.

On average, law enforcement typically finds a stolen vehicle within 48 hours of it being reported missing. But the process can also take much, much longer. So be patient as law enforcement searches for your vehicle.

In the meantime, you can continue to check the NICB’s VINCheck system to see if your vehicle is still unrecovered.

Stolen Vehicle FAQ

How long does it take police to find a stolen car?

As mentioned, police should be able to recover your vehicle within 48 hours. This timeframe is especially expedited if the vehicle is equipped with a pre-installed vehicle recovery device .

How do police track stolen cars?

Police use a number of tools to track vehicles, such as personal belongings that emit a signal, toll detectors, license plate scanners, dash cams, installed GPS devices , and video surveillance.

What does insurance cover if your car is stolen?

Insurance policies typically cover vehicle theft, stolen parts replacement, and vandalism repairs. Most insurance companies have a waiting period of 30 days before declaring a total loss and issuing reimbursement. You can learn more about vehicle theft and insurance here .

What do I do if my stolen vehicle is financed or leased?

If the stolen vehicle is financed or leased, begin by calling the police and your insurance company, then contact the finance or leasing company.

How To Stay Protected in the Future

Going forward, it’s good practice to install a vehicle recovery device enabled with real-time location data. Having a system in place to communicate the exact whereabouts of your vehicle greatly assists in recovery.

Solutions like Elo GPS not only provide stolen vehicle recovery systems, but also a 24/7 stolen vehicle recovery hotline with a dedicated team of specialists. To learn more about Elo GPS, connect with a solution expert near you.