Has someone with bad intentions just stolen your car? Are you wondering what steps to take in case of car theft? In 2021, more than 122,000 vehicles (cars and motorcycles) were stolen in France, which is almost one theft every four minutes. This unpleasant experience happens much more often than we think! If this happens to you, it is essential to act quickly, especially if you have not equipped your car with a GPS tracker. Filing a complaint, reporting the theft to your insurance, and getting advice: here’s what you need to know about the steps to take in case of car theft.

Car thefts in France: which ones are the most affected?

Electric cars, city cars, station wagons, sedans… Are you wondering which types of vehicles are most coveted by criminals? Let’s take a look at the latest statistics on car theft in France! According to the latest study conducted by Auto Plus, the vehicles most affected by theft in France in 2021 are mainly:

  • City cars like the Renault Clio 4, the Peugeot 208 or the Mégane 4.
  • Sedans like the Toyota Prius, the Renault Mégane RS or the DS 3.
  • Or SUVs like the DS 7 Crossback, the Peugeot 3008 and the Toyota C-HR.

It should also be noted that cars equipped with electronics are particularly targeted by theft. Indeed, criminals use the “mouse-jacking” technique, which consists of hacking into the computer system of these vehicles! Today, about 75% of thefts in France rely on this modus operandi.

If you live in Ile-de-France, be vigilant, because your department is the one with the highest number of car thefts (more than 55,000 vehicles in 2021). This first place is explained in particular by the high population density of the region. Also be careful for residents of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Hauts-de-France, who come in 2nd and 3rd position. Bretons, on the other hand, are lucky to live in the region least affected by vehicle thefts!

What to do in case of car theft? The 2 essential steps to follow

1. File a complaint with the gendarmerie

What is the first step to take in case of car theft? The first step to take when a criminal steals your car is to file a complaint. However, it should be noted that this may differ slightly depending on the conditions of the break-in.

Your car is stolen before your eyes

The theft is happening right before your eyes or has just been committed? Call 17 immediately. This number will connect you with law enforcement to report the ongoing break-in. They can then send an intervention team to the scene to stop the thief from stealing your vehicle.

You discover the theft of your car after the break-in

Your vehicle was stolen without you witnessing it? Go as quickly as possible to a gendarmerie or police station. Law enforcement will receive your complaint and send it to the public prosecutor. The latter will then decide on the next steps (investigation or dismissal, for example).

Once the theft of your vehicle has been reported to the gendarmerie or police station, the agents will provide you with:

  • a receipt for the complaint;
  • a copy of the complaint (at your request).

Vehicle theft and filing a complaint: what you need to know

Filing a complaint is a crucial step. Indeed, it will prevent you from being held responsible in the event of an accident involving your stolen vehicle.

Thanks to your complaint, your car will also be automatically registered in the following files:

  • FOVeS (File of Reported Objects and Vehicles): this file facilitates searches and checks carried out by law enforcement. Therefore, it helps in the discovery and restitution of stolen cars.
  • SIV (Vehicle Registration System): consultable by the police and gendarmerie, this file makes it possible to block new registration requests concerning stolen vehicles.

To find your vehicle, law enforcement also relies on the Impound and Immobilization Register. This lists all records of immobilized or impounded vehicles following an offense. It also lists vehicles found in a wrecked state. Gendarmes and police officers will thus be able to check, as a first step, if your car is not simply in the impound lot.

The thief stole your vehicle documents (registration, insurance, etc.) or your identity papers in addition to your car? If so, be sure to mention it to the authorities when making your report.

Did the theft of your car occur in your home garage? Like a crime scene, be sure not to touch anything before the arrival of the authorities. This will prevent you from interfering with possible scientific observations.

Did you protect your car with a GPS tracker? The presence of this small GPS tag in your vehicle significantly increases your chances of finding it! In case of theft, remember to share your Invoxia GPS application and the GPS coordinates of your property with the gendarmes or police to facilitate their intervention.

2. Declare the theft to your insurer

After filing your complaint, the second step in case of car theft is to quickly notify your insurer. Generally, the legal deadline for reporting the theft of your vehicle is two working days after the incident. To validate your request, you will need to provide a number of elements such as:

  • Your identity (last name, first name, address).
  • Your insurance contract number.
  • The circumstances of the vehicle theft (location, date and time, etc.).
  • The nature of the damage suffered (attempted theft, theft or damage).
  • A copy of your complaint.

Was your car parked at your home during the theft? Remember to report this damage to your home insurance. Indeed, depending on your coverage, this contract can cover many damages related to theft such as a broken window or a forced lock.

To report the theft or attempted theft of your car, you can contact your insurance:

  • By phone;
  • Online (if your company offers an online reporting system);
  • Through a registered letter;
  • By going to the agency’s offices.

Attention: the declaration deadline may vary from one car insurance contract to another. We therefore invite you to check the one provided by your insurance company. Indeed, if you exceed the imposed deadline, you risk not being compensated.

Why report the theft of your vehicle to your insurance company?

The interest of this approach in case of car theft is twofold:

  • Allow you to obtain compensation.
  • Clear your responsibility in case your stolen vehicle causes an accident.

In addition, reporting the theft of your car allows your insurance company to take care of:

  • any damage caused;
  • your defense in court in case of personal involvement.

Vehicle theft and insurance: what are the conditions to be met to be compensated?

To be compensated in case of theft or attempted theft of your vehicle, you must have taken out theft insurance. This clause is not mandatory in car insurance, so if you did not subscribe to it when you signed your contract, you will not be compensated by your insurer. The coverage provided by insurance contracts varies from one company to another, so it is advisable to contact your insurer and/or refer to the clauses of your contract. However, be aware that your insurance may refuse to compensate you in certain cases, such as if it considers that the theft is due to negligence on your part. Finally, the article provides tips on how to protect your vehicle to avoid such unpleasant situations in the future.

  • 5 basic precautions to apply daily with your car;
  • 5 technical ways to deter thieves from targeting your vehicle.

What happens if my stolen vehicle is not found?

It has been several days since a thief stole your car and the authorities have still not found it? Without the presence of a GPS tracker, it is often difficult for the police to locate your car. And the longer the time passes, the less likely it is to be found. That is why most insurance policies provide a period after which you can request compensation from your insurer. Generally, this period is 30 days. However, we advise you to always check this in the clauses of your personal contract.

To be compensated, you will need to fill out and send a compensation claim form to your insurer. This is usually accompanied by several supporting documents, such as:

  • The keys to the stolen vehicle;
  • The registration certificate (gray card);
  • The purchase invoice;
  • A copy of the police report;
  • An up-to-date technical inspection.

My insurer refuses to compensate me

Your insurance company refuses to compensate you following the theft of your car? In this situation, you can try to obtain compensation by contacting the CIVI (Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Offenses). For your request to be accepted, note that two conditions must be met:

  • Income conditions: your income must not exceed certain ceilings.
  • The consequences of the offense: the theft of your car must have caused serious psychological or material consequences in your life.

In any case, be sure to keep your vehicle documents such as the registration certificate. Indeed, if the police or gendarmes find your car later, they will still be valid.

My stolen vehicle is found after the legal deadline

In some cases, it happens that law enforcement finds your vehicle several weeks after the 30-day deadline imposed by insurance companies. However, after a theft, you have often already taken all the necessary steps to obtain compensation from your insurer in order to buy a new vehicle. If this happens to you, don’t panic! Know that you will then have the choice between two options:

  1. Retrieve your vehicle. In this case, you will have to repay the amount paid by your insurer. If your car has been damaged, it will still be possible to deduct the estimated amount of the damages.
  2. Surrender your stolen car to your insurance company. It is highly likely that you have already used your compensation to buy a new vehicle. In this case, you can give up on recovering your stolen car and surrender it to your insurer. The latter will then take care of selling it or, if necessary, sending it to the scrapyard.

Theft and Break-ins: How to Protect Your Car?

Now you know what steps to take in case of car theft. However, you probably also want to know how to prevent your vehicle from being stolen! Here are our best tips to protect your car from theft.

5 precautions to avoid car theft

Free and easy to implement, these five tips will prevent you from attracting the attention of wrongdoers!

1. Clean up your vehicle

Smartphone, clothing, bags, GPS, computer: valuable items always attract the attention of criminals. So be sure not to leave your expensive items lying around in plain sight. If necessary, place them in the trunk of your car or in the glove box.

2. Keep your keys outside of your car

Avoid leaving your vehicle keys in the ignition or inside to avoid tempting thieves. Indeed, you could be at risk of theft without any break-in and your insurance could consider your forgetfulness as an act of negligence. Similarly, always keep your vehicle papers with you rather than storing them in the glove box.

3. Lock your vehicle properly when absent

When you leave your vehicle, make sure that all openings are properly closed. Poorly raised windows, doors, trunks: the slightest forgetfulness can greatly facilitate the work of the thief! A tip? Pull on the handle of your door to make sure your car is properly locked.

4. Park in a secure location

If you do not have a closed garage, try to park as often as possible in secure areas. Favor, for example:

  • Private car parks;
  • Parking areas with guards;
  • Busy and well-lit streets;
  • Areas with surveillance cameras.

5. Do not leave the steering wheel of your vehicle to a stranger

Selling your car to an individual? Never let a stranger drive off alone in your car! To avoid any risk of theft, always accompany potential buyers interested in your car.

5 technical ways to protect your vehicle against theft

Common sense rules are not always enough to prevent car theft. Here are five technical ways to deter experienced thieves.

1. Install an anti-theft alarm

Thieves appreciate calm and discretion above all else. The loud noise of an anti-theft alarm is perfect for discouraging ill-intentioned people! You will thus succeed in scaring off thieves and warning passers-by in the vicinity.

2. Install a steering wheel lock

The steering wheel lock is a very effective mechanical means against vandals, as it has the advantage of making them lose time. Therefore, the presence of this object in your vehicle’s interior radically reduces the risk of theft.

3. Invest in an electronic immobilizer system

The electronic immobilizer system case makes the use of your ignition key essential. Therefore, without it, the thief simply cannot start your vehicle!

4. Engrave your car windows

By engraving your car windows with a unique serial number, you can deter criminals from targeting your vehicle. Indeed, it is then listed on a database intended for law enforcement and insurers. As a result, it complicates the task of thieves and, conversely, facilitates the recovery of stolen vehicles.

5. Place a GPS tracker in your car

The GPS tracker is the ultimate solution to protect against car theft. Why? Because by hiding a tracker in the interior of your vehicle, you will be able to track the position of your vehicle in real time. This valuable data will save time for law enforcement and significantly increase your chances of recovering your vehicle. In fact, some trackers, such as the Invoxia GPS tracker, also have the particularity of alerting you in case of an unexpected movement of your car.

What steps to take in case of car theft with an Invoxia tracker?

A thief has taken your car, but you thought to protect your vehicle in advance by placing an Invoxia tracker in it? Thanks to the Invoxia GPS application, you will not only receive a real-time alert to notify you of suspicious movement, but also track the vehicle’s movements. This way, if you are nearby, you can quickly go there to confirm the theft. However, we advise you not to act alone to avoid any unnecessary risk or dangerous situation…

In case of proven theft, quickly contact the gendarmes or police and inform them of the presence of your GPS tag. Indeed, your device will allow you to observe the movements and location of your car. To further facilitate the searches of law enforcement, do not hesitate to activate the Lost Mode feature on your tracker, and provide them with your personal identifiers. You can also directly contact our support team (from your application) so that they can generate a public tracking link that you can share with law enforcement. They will then be able to track the vehicle more quickly.

What is Lost Mode?

Don’t know what Lost Mode is? It is a relatively recent feature available from your Invoxia GPS application, which you can activate in case of theft to increase the frequency and accuracy of your tracker’s location. Our support team is available at any time to answer any questions you may have on this subject!

  • You can contact us to launch a thorough analysis of your GPS tracker’s activity.
  • Our technical support is available to law enforcement to answer all their questions.

To date, Invoxia trackers have already helped recover several thousand stolen vehicles. You can also find numerous testimonials from our users on our website.

From now on, you know what steps to take in case of car theft to act quickly. And above all, you have all the necessary keys to protect your vehicle to the maximum! A welcome protection when you know that vehicle thefts in France and around the world remain constant! You have chosen to protect your car with an Invoxia tracker, but you don’t know where to hide it? Discover right away where to place a GPS tracker in a car and where to place a GPS tracker on a motorcycle!

Alexandre

Alexandre

Passionate about soccer as well as writing and creating content, Alexandre remains more comfortable with words than with the ball.

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