Although having a brand new car is amazing for the most part, it does come with its floors. Cars are one of the most stolen assets in the UK, and unfortunately, the newer and more expensive the vehicle is, the more likely it is to be stolen. Thankfully, the days where you could break into a car with minimal effort are long gone, and in-car safety technology is pretty phenomenal.
Nevertheless, car thefts are still on the rise...
If you're unfortunate enough to have your car stolen and it turns out to be a lease car, here is a short guide on what you should do.
Once you've realised that your vehicle has been stolen, you are going to panic, it's completely normal but you have to remember that it isn't the end of the world. When you've got over the initial shock of being stolen from, you must make sure that you have your other expensive belongings and that no damage has been done to your property.
Once you've checked everything's ok, the first thing you must make sure to do is to call the police and inform them about absolutely everything you know¦ Where the car was stolen, what it looks like, what registration plate, make, model, year bought, where it's come from, absolutely any information you can possibly hand over to aid the police investigation. Once this information has been passed over, the Police are likely to come over to speak to you personally whilst the investigation is opened up and taken further.
Whilst the Police proceed with the investigation, you must next make sure to call your car insurance company. You must remember that the situation does not change because the car is leased; you would still follow a very similar process if you owned the car yourself. Your insurance will advise you on the situation and will need to know the result of the police investigation to proceed, as they will be covering the cost of the car if the police do not retrieve the stolen vehicle. (This can change - it's dependant upon the settlement figure and agreement between the finance company and your insurance)
Once you've spoken to your insurance, you should speak to your leasing company/broker. If you were to speak to us directly, we would inform the finance company about the theft and ensure that they must speak to you and your insurance company to discuss a settlement figure for the contract.
You must remember that the finance company will still charge you your monthly fee for the vehicle until the case has been resolved. You must also note that on occasion, the finance company and your insurance provider may not agree on a settlement figure, meaning that you will have to pay the difference between your insurance company's agreed amount and the finance company's settlement figure.
Because of these potentialities, some customers opt for GAP insurance (Guaranteed Asset Protection) designed to protect you against financial loss for these kinds of situations, which can be incorporated into the monthly fee.
Like we've previously mentioned, if the Police do not find the stolen vehicle, your insurance company will have to cover the costs and a settlement figure will have to be agreed on.
Making sure that you're vehicle is locked at all times is paramount if you want to avoid your car being stolen. Even when you feel safe at home, you must make sure to keep your car locked, even if you are going inside the house for a couple of minutes.
Make sure to keep your car keys in a safe place at all times. When at home, it may be a good idea to put your keys in a safe box overnight or hide them in your bedroom - out of plain sight.
If you have a garage, make sure to use it to your advantage. Park your lease car in the garage and close the doors to avoid your vehicle being stolen.
If you don't have an anti-theft system at home or CCTV it might be a good idea to invest in one. Although it won't physically prevent somebody from stealing your car, the sheer sight of a camera can be enough to put a thief off and if the car is stolen, the footage can be used to aid the police investigation - to retrieve your car.
Establishing a neighbourhood watch community can be beneficial in terms of home security. Ask your close neighbours to keep an eye on your car, and ask them to watch for any strange individuals or activity in the area.
If you want to lower the chances of having your vehicle stolen, it may be a good idea to try and avoid high crime areas at all costs.