Thousands of cars are stolen in the UK every year, with as many as 106,000 pinched in 2018 alone. ‘Keyless entry’ is a popular feature on new cars, but criminals have found a number of ways to exploit this nascent technology. With that in mind, is it any wonder that the number of new car thefts is on the rise?
We’re not suggesting you abandon these new technologies - but you should remain vigilant. Even if you don’t have one of the latest keyless entry systems installed, that doesn’t mean that you’re not a potential target.
If your new lease car is stolen, it’s crucial that you act fast.
What should I do if my lease car has been stolen?
Whether you own or lease your car, it’s fair to say it’s a pretty stressful experience to find out your vehicle has been stolen.
With a stolen lease car, you have the additional stress of knowing that whilst your car is likely insured, you don’t actually own it. So, what happens now?
It’s easy to panic if you discover your lease car has been stolen, but it’s important to stay calm, and follow these steps.
1. Call The Police
It may seem obvious, but this should be your first step. Call the police to report the theft, and include any details you’re aware of regarding the situation.
You’ll need to provide them with all the details of your business or personal contract hire car, including:
- The make and model of the car
- The car colour
- The vehicle registration number
You’ll then be provided with a crime reference number for your stolen vehicle while the police investigate.
2. Contact Your Leasing Company
They might be the last people you want to tell, but it’s really important that the finance company is made aware that your lease car was stolen.
Even though the car’s no longer in your possession (perhaps due to no fault of your own) you are still obligated to make your usual monthly payments. Until the issue has been resolved, you have to pay up as stated in your contract hire agreement.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
Your insurance provider will be paying for the car if it is not recovered, or if the lease car is written off (total loss), so it is crucial that you inform them as soon as possible.
If your lease car isn’t recovered within 30 days, or is written off, the insurance company will contact your finance provider to arrange a payout. This will cover some or all of the cost to lease the car, and once an amount has been agreed, they will contact you.
However, there could be a discrepancy between the amount that the insurance provider agrees to pay, and the amount that the lease company deems the vehicle to be worth.
In this case you’ll be legally required to pay the shortfall (any outstanding finance). The only way this will be covered for this is if you’ve taken out a GAP insurance policy (Guaranteed Asset Protection). You can find out more about what lease GAP insurance covers and whether GAP insurance is worth it.
It’s a horrible situation to think of your car being stolen, but there are plenty of measures you can take to avoid it.
To help prevent your lease car from being stolen, you can:
- Keep your vehicle locked.
- Store it in a locked garage if you have one.
- Always remove your keys from the car when leaving it.
- Never leave your car unattended with the engine running.
- Avoid leaving any valuables in a visible place.
But don’t let the fear of theft keep you from getting a lease car. Provided you’ve got adequate insurance, you will be protected in the event that your car is stolen.
Whatever type of vehicle you’re looking for, you can get the best deal on your next set of wheels when you compare car lease deals with us.