What to do if your car is stolen: complete guide

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One of the biggest fears that owners of a vehicle have is that it will be stolen. Nowadays it is possible that the car can be taken from anywhere, not only from streets with bad reputation or unknown.

For this reason, at BMI Spain we tell you what to do if your car is stolen.

Check that your car has been stolen

If you want to know what to do if your car is stolen, first check that it is in another street or area and not that it has been stolen.

We often get into the habit of parking our car in the same street or area, and maybe because of some mistake you think it should be there and you actually park it in another street. We recommend that you go around the block before taking the next step. 

Another reason why your car is not where you had it parked, other than theft, is the possibility that it has been taken away by a tow truck because it was parked in a prohibited area.

Normally the operator who has taken the car in the crane leaves a sticker attached to the floor, sign or nearest wall, indicating where your vehicle is located, the license plate and a contact phone number. You can also call the town hall to check the status of your car.

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Report the theft

If you don’t know what to do if your car is stolen, you should go to the police to report the theft.

You should go to the nearest police station and file a report of the theft of your car and any other personal belongings you may have inside.

Reporting the theft of your vehicle is very important, since not only will a search request be issued to locate it, but also if a crime or traffic infraction is committed, with the report you will be able to demonstrate that it was not in your possession and thus exempt yourself from any type of responsibility.

The police station must provide the following data: identification document, either DNI, residence card or passport, registration number, brand and model of the vehicle, as well as other characteristics like the color.

Do not worry if at the time of presenting the report you forgot to include some personal object, you always have the possibility to return to the police station and extend your report.

Report the theft of your vehicle to the insurance company

Once you have filed a report at the police station and been given a copy of it, what to do if your car is stolen is to report the theft of your vehicle to the insurance company.

Once you have informed the insurance company of the facts and sent them a copy of the report, it will open an incident for the theft of your vehicle.

If you have comprehensive insurance against third parties, including theft, the insurance company will cover the event, and in case the theft is not included, you can at least suspend the insurance policy.

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You will have to wait at least 30 days until the company declares the vehicle as missing, and from then on start with the procedures for the compensation.

Discharge the stolen vehicle at the traffic office

Once you have filed a report and informed the insurance company of the theft of your vehicle, you must go to the corresponding traffic office and have it cancelled.

Normally, once you file a report, the police take care of this procedure, but it is better to make sure and do it personally.

Cancelling your vehicle at the traffic office will prevent you from being sanctioned in the event that some type of infraction is committed with your vehicle.

For this procedure you will be asked for the following documents: the car theft report, the driving license, an identification document and the car’s technical sheet, if it has not been stolen.

In the event that the car appears, you can re-register the vehicle at the traffic office.


Communicate the theft of your vehicle to the City Hall

Another step we must take to know what to do if your vehicle is stolen is to inform the Town Hall that it has been stolen.

This procedure is mainly to avoid paying the car’s circulation tax, since we cannot use it.

How do I manage the compensation for the theft of my vehicle?

If it’s been 30 days since the car disappeared and you have already done all the previous steps, this is the next thing to do if you don’t know what to do if your car is stolen.

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In order to do so, you must go to the insurance company’s office, where you will be asked to provide the following documents: the original report of the car’s theft, an identification document (ID card, passport or residence card), the receipt of temporary cancellation of the vehicle from the traffic office, the receipt of payment of the last municipal road tax, a report with the owners who have had the car and the keys.

Once the insurance company has ruled out fraud or theft, has the required documentation, with the type of policy and the age of the vehicle, the experts will make an assessment and establish an indemnity.

Normally, companies indemnify with the market value of the car. In other words, the insurance companies economically compensate with the value that the car has in the moment before the theft and what it would be have for sale.

This value depends on the brand, characteristics and age of the vehicle, but does not take into account mileage or maintenance.

In case you do not agree with the value of the compensation, you can claim it before the defender of the Insured Party (Defensor del Asegurado).

What happens if the stolen car shows up?

In the case that once the insurance company has paid you the compensation of the car and it appears, you have two options, either keep the money of the compensation, or return it and keep your car.

In the second case, the insurance company will appraise the car and will take care of the repair of the damages that have been caused by the theft.


Even though coverage for vehicle theft is not mandatory it is highly recommended as it saves you a lot of hassle.

If you are looking for the best  car insurance in Spain, at BMI Spain we can help you find the one that best suits your needs. 

A good insurance broker looks for the best solution for you. For more information, visit our website, or contact us.