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?
- Call the police - It may seem obvious, but this should be your first step. Call the police to report the theft. You’ll need to provide them with all the details of your business or personal contract hire car, including the model, colour and vehicle registration number. You’ll then be provided with a crime reference number for your stolen vehicle while the police investigate.
- Contact your leasing company - It’s important that the finance company is made aware that your lease car was stolen. You likely know the ins and outs of how car leasing works, so you'll know the car still belongs to them (they are the registered keeper of the lease car). You are still obligated to make your usual monthly payments under your contract hire agreement until the issue has been resolved.
- Call your car 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 to cover some or all of the cost to lease the car. Once the amount that they will pay has been agreed, they will contact you. If there is 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, you will be legally required to pay the shortfall (any outstanding finance) unless 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.