Getting your car stolen could be overwhelming, but there are immediate steps you can take to find your stolen car and reduce your loss.

Here we summarize top 10 ways to help you find your stolen vehicle, and provide detailed answers to the hottest "Car Is Stolen" questions.

(Some readers sent emails to us that they got their stolen car back with the ways in this post. A reader also left a comment that she found her stolen car with the ways here. You can add your ideas in the comment below.)

#1. Check If Your Car Is Indeed Stolen
#2 .Top 10 Ways to Find Stolen Car
#3. "Car Is Stolen" Hottest FAQs

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#1. Check If Your Car Is Stolen Before You Head to Find Your Stolen Car

"My car was stolen, now what?"

Well, the first thing is to check if your lost car is indeed stolen before you have ants in your pants. Follow the below tips to do a stolen car check.

• Check the parking lot carefully. Public parking lots would be one of best places to start looking for a stolen vehicle. Maybe you just forget the exact place of your car.

You can download a "Find Stolen Car" app to your iPhone or Android smartphone to find your car, if you don't remember where you've parked your car. You can check more apps here.

• Check with towing companies before reporting your car is stolen.

• Track your car by VIN number. The VIN check contains all history report, including accidents and service records. You can check if a car is stolen by license plate and VIN.

If your car is indeed stolen, don't waste any time! Skip to the next part right away.

Security Camera Systems to Find Your Stolen Car

#2. Top 10 Effective Ways You Can Do to Find Your Stolen Car

We've included every possible way here to help you track your stolen car with step-by-step guides. And the infographic below also covers the alarming car theft statistics in 2020 as well as the quick tips about how to find your stolen vehicles.

Car Stolen Tips

If you have other effective ways to find a lost or missing car, share with us in the comment below, we will include your ideas in this post.

Way 1. File a "Car Stolen" Report to the Police

If your car is stolen, especially with your child or baby, dog inside, call the police at once.

When you file a police report, make sure you can provide enough information about your missing car, typically including:

  • The license plate (the police may help you find your stolen car with it)
  • The VIN
  • Your identification
  • Your car's brand, model & color
  • The location where you last saw your car
  • The tracking device (if you have), such as LoJack or OnStar

Keep a copy of the file since you'll need it for the insurance claim.

The more details you provide, the higher chances that the police can help you retrieve your missing car.

Note: If your car is stolen and impounded by the police (the police may impound your stolen car when checking for the traffic violations), you should take your ID card, driving license and other document that can prove the car belongs to you. You can get your stolen car back fast.

Way 2. Contact Your Insurance Company When Your Car Is Stolen

Also contact your insurance company when your car gets stolen. If your car is stolen while running comprehensive insurance, you can get the "car stolen" insurance payout from the insurance company.

If you recover your stolen car after getting the insurance claim, call your insurance company. Please note that the recovered car now belongs to the insurance company. If you want, you can buy the recovered car back from the company staff.

You can check the hottest question to the "Car Stolen" insurance in Part 3.

Way 3. Inform Your Leasing Company If Your Rented Car Is Stolen

If your stolen car is rented, contact the leasing company after you find the vehicle is missing. Inform them that you've already reported the stolen car to the police and ask for the car's identification numbers and tag.

Also, remember to request an incident form from the rental company and review the contract terms about the liability insurance you have chosen. If you have bought full coverage from the car leasing company, you will be covered if the car is stolen, supposing that you were complying with the contract at the time of the theft.

Way 4. Use GPS Device to Locate Your Stolen Car

If you've installed a GPS tracking system, like OnStar, LoJack, etc. to your vehicle, the company of the tracker can help you determine the location of your stolen car, and even shut it down.

No matter where your car got stolen, such as the dealership, driveway, garage, valet parking, or a mechanic shop, you can trace your stolen vehicle with the GPS quickly.

Way 5. Use Security Camera Systems to Find Your Stolen Car

When your car is stolen, you should check the security camera footage at once. Security camera video recordings are one of the best ways to find your stolen car and vehicle.

1. Check the security camera footage of your garage & your home. By checking the video recordings, you can see the car thief's clear images, and his general escape route. With these evidences, the likelihood of finding your stolen car will significantly increase.

You can watch the video below to see how the Reolink RLC-410 security camera stops a car theft. (If you haven't installed a security camera for your car and home, it's time to add one.)

2. Check your community's security camera footage (if permitted). If your car is stolen in your community, such as the public driveway, security camera systems will record the trace of your stolen car.

A stolen Chevrolet Silverado car owner got his car back by checking a primary school's security camera systems.

Way 6. Call Every Cab Company When Your Car Is Stolen

Cab drivers can help trace your stolen cars, trucks and vehicles. Whatever the situation is, calling all the cab companies in the area where your stolen car is left running or parking is definitely a good option to find your stolen car.

Taxi drivers seriously outnumber police, thus increasing the chances of finding your missing car. Besides, you should give enough reward, such as $100, to the taxi driver who finds your stolen car.

The reward is an incentive to encourage more people to join your stolen vehicle search team, which increases the possibility of recovering your stolen car.

Way 7. Check the City's Transportation Website for Parking Violation When Your Car Was Stolen

You can track down your stolen car online via checking the parking violation. When your car was stolen, the car thief would park your car somewhere and then abandoned it.

The car was ticketed and put into the parking violation database, which is available online apparently.

You can follow the below steps to do a "stolen car" lookup online.

Step 1. Log into your city's transportation website.

Step 2. Use your license plate to check whether your vehicle is in the database.

Step 3. Check the area where the violation takes place.

Step 4. Contact the police. They will search for your missing car and then release it to you if they find it.

Way 8. Check for Your Stolen Car's Parts Being Sold Online When Your Car Has Been Stolen

You can find your stolen car online if the car thief sells your car on the Internet. If your car has been parted out, finding who is selling those parts could lead you to recover your wheeled baby.

You can use an automated checking system, such as Craigslist checker, to track down your stolen car parts stolen from your apartment complex or any areas.

If you can identify parts from your stolen car, make sure that you contact the police before arranging any meeting with the seller. Car thieves are dangerous guys. Accompanied by the police, you can get your stolen car back more safely and smoothly.

Way 9. Find Your Stolen Car with VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) If Your Car Is Stolen

When your car is stolen, you can locate and find your stolen vehicle with the VIN number.

A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code used by vehicle industry to identify individual motor vehicles, towed vehicles, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, etc. You can track a stolen car online with the vehicle identification number.

How to Find & Locate Your Stolen Car with VIN: Step-by-Step Guide

VIN not only helps you check if your car is stolen but also plays an important role on locating and finding your stolen car.

Step 1. Go to AutoCheck, and purchase a vehicle history report. The cost of the report will be between $30 and $40.

Step 2. Enter your vehicle identification number and credit card details on the vehicle history report search screen.

You will see a chronological history of the places where your car was registered, titled and serviced.

The last known registration or service should be the most recent location of your stolen vehicle. Thus you can narrow down the search range when your car is stolen, and get your car back fast.

Step 3. Contact the Police. They will help you trace down your stolen vehicle with the information you provide.

Way 10. Keep a Record of Your Belongings When Your Car Is Stolen

As noted above, if your car is stolen, the insurance company might compensate for your loss including your personal belongings left in the stolen vehicle based on your insurance policy.

So instead of immersing yourself in the sadness when you find your car is stolen, keep a record of your valuables in the stolen vehicle while your memory is fresh. Also, prepared the receipt of the items you're going to include in the insurance claim to recover your loss.

Besides the above effective ways to look for your stolen car, you can get detailed answers below to the hottest "Car Is Stolen" questions, including stolen car insurance, chances of finding stolen vehicles, etc.

#3. "Car Is Stolen" Hottest Questions You May Ask

We make a list of "Car Is Stolen" questions so that you can get all the information you need about tracking and finding your stolen vehicles.

1. Are Stolen Cars Covered by Insurance?

A 1: If you have comprehensive insurance for your car, you can get compensation from the insurance company. You need to purchase both collision and comprehensive coverage so that you can get compensation if your car is stolen, vandalized or damaged.

2. How Long Does It Take for the Insurance Company to Pay out on Your Stolen Car?

A 2: If you've had the comprehensive insurance for your car, you should file a "car stolen" insurance claim at once. The insurance company will investigate the case before paying out for your loss.

Car insurance companies typically have a waiting period of 30 days, before they will pay a stolen car claim, as it gives time to see if the car would be recovered.

If your car is recovered but comes back damaged, the car insurance company will determine whether the car can be repaired or is a total loss. If your vehicle is considered as a total loss, you'll get the actual cash value of your car from the company.

If your stolen car reappears after your insurance settlement, your insurance company will retain the ownership of the vehicle. The vehicle would be sold for salvage or at an auction.

You can buy your stolen car back if the laws and the insurance company's guidelines allow.

3. What Are the Percentage of Stolen Cars Are Covered?

A 3: According to Progressive Insurance's report, the US average rate for car theft recovery is 46%, but the rate varies greatly among states. For example, the stolen car recovery rate in Washington was 71%, in Utah was 63%, but only 28% in Alabama.

All in all, the chance of finding a stolen car is quite high. So Keep optimistic if your car is stolen.

4. How Long Does It Take for Police to Find a Stolen Car?

A 4: It depends on the region where your car was stolen and whether you could offer additional useful clues like security camera footage for the police to find missing cars.

For example, a shirtless guy was caught on Reolink security camera RLC-410 punching the car window at the middle of the night, and thanks to the surveillance footage, the police managed to catch the guy soon.


5. If My Car Is Stolen, Does Matter Where I Live?

A 5: Yes, it definitely matters. If your car is stolen or lost in the below areas, you should use the above ways to find and track your stolen vehicle at once.

US (America) Chicago, Los Angeles, NYC, Houston, Livingston, Las Vegas, Detroit, Philadelphia, Miami, Omaha, New Orleans, Orlando, Tulsa, Denver
UK Birmingham, Berwick, Bristol, Edinburgh, London, Nottingham
Australia Melbourne, Brisbane, Victoria, Newcastle, Perth, Picton, Toowoomba, Townsville, Dandenong, Queensland
Toronto, Calgary Canada Germany NZ Malaysia Dublin Ireland
South Africa Mexico Philippines Delhi India Kuwait
Dubai Portland

6. What Car Is Stolen Most?

A 6: In America, Thailand, and Malaysia, the most frequently stolen vehicles are Honda Accord and Civic cars, Toyota Camry cars and Proton cars respectively. If your car is one of these models, there is a higher possibility of your car being stolen.

Top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles:

Honda Accord Honda Civic Ford Pickup (Full size) Chevrolet Pickup (Full size) Toyota Camry
Dodge Pickup (Full size) Toyota Corolla Nissan Altima Dodge Caravan Chevrolet Impala

If you car is one of the above brands, you should pay extra attention to secure your vehicle from car theft. You can try the effective ways in this post to prevent car theft. These useful ways are summarized by Reolink's chief editor Yolanda, who always shares useful safety tips with her fans.

7. What Happens When Your Car Is Stolen and Recovered?

A 7: If your stolen is recovered, you should tell the police to cancel the stolen vehicle alarm. Don't use the vehicle or apply for the plates until you are sure that the alarm has been canceled.

If your stolen vehicle is damaged, contact your car insurance company. Don't apply for the plates/registration until you've solved the issue with the company.

If you get your stolen car back but lose the plate, bring your copy of form MV-78B to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office and apply for a new license plate.

8. What Happens If My Car Is Stolen and I Still Owe on It?

A 8: If your financed car is stolen, you'll have to continue paying for the installments while you lodge claims against the insurance company. And in case your stolen car can not be recovered, you need to pay off the remaining amount with your insurance payout.

Note that it would be a bad idea to withhold your payments as it will harm your credibility and make it hard for you to get a car loan at the best rat e in the future.

"Car Is Stolen" Bottom Line

There is one thing you should know that no matter what kind of your car is, and wherever you live (unless you live in the North Pole), your car is at the risk of being stolen by rampant vehicle thieves.

Don't take it for granted that my car is safe in my yard, my car won't get stolen because it is very cheap. Those car thieves will steal your car as long as he has the opportunity.

If your car gets stolen (hope it never happens to your car), remember to use the above top 5 ways to find your stolen car! Share this post with your family and friends so that more people can read these effective ways to find stolen vehicles. If you have any questions or any ideas, leave them in the comment below!

  • JJ Poski

    Uhm and also SHE stealing your car men are not the only thieves!!

    • He Poski, thank you for your suggestion. Indeed, ”she” also steals cars in some cases.

  • McKenzie Kareem

    My car was stolen few months ago, I almost cried and was sober f or week until my uncle introduced me to Travis who helped me track and hack my car. I was able to recover my car withing 3 day all thanks to Travis. Contact him via

    • Hello McKenzie, we are really glad that you get your stolen car back with the ways. Please share the above ways with your family or friends so that more people can learn the useful ways to get their stolen or missing cars back!

  • Justin Abate

    Portland didn't make the list. Only time my car was ever stolen was here

    • Hello Justin, we are really sorry for your loss. You can try the above effective ways to find your stolen car. We will add the place you mentioned in the list.

  • Eve Dawkins

    My car was stolen tonight, hasn't been recovered yet. I called the police and high way patrol nothing yet. I have to call them in the morning again and see what happens then wish me luck. Sorry yal had to experience this,we never know when we are a victim.

    • Hello Eve, we are very sorry that you encounter the car theft. The police will try to help you recover your car.

      Hope the ways in this post may do you a favor. And hope your car will be recovered soon! Good luck to you!

  • Angela Scott

    I have a 2013 Toyato tocoma it was stolen two days, i have not heard one word what do I need to do?

    • Hello Angela, really sorry for your loss.

      After you've reported to the police, you can track down your car with the VIN. The ways in this post are really helpful to get your stolen car back as much as possible.

      Do you have any videos tapes that caught the car thieves in the act? Clear images are helpful for the police to identity the thieves.

  • Hello Blessed, really sorry about that. Have you try the above ways to find your stolen car yet besides filing a report to the police?

    Do you have the VIN for your missing car? If yes, you can track down your stolen car with the number. Or do you have any video tapes that caught the images of the car thieves? If yes, the police can catch them more easily.

    • Mrembalmer

      How is using the vin after my car had been stolen going to help. The person who stole the car is not going to go and register the vehicle

      • Elvia

        Hello Mrembalmer, with the VIN, you can see a chronological history of the places where your car was registered, titled and serviced.

        The last known registration or service should be the most recent location of your stolen vehicle. Thus you can narrow down the search range when your car is stolen, and get your car back fast.

        • Connie Reeves Boswell

          How that makes no sense. My daughters truck was stolen a week ago Sun and we have the title. Anything that the vin would show would be when she registered it. The police SAT on it for 4 days even though they were given a strong tip of someone that works at a auto paint and repair shop. A person that stole it is not going to register it under the right info they are either going to chop it or try to salvage title it. It was a 2009 GMC Truck. Do you really think someone is going to register and service it within a week time, I really do not understand this advice.

  • Really sorry for your loss. Have you tried to track down your lost via the VIN please? Or do you have any video tapes that caught the images of the car thieves? If yes, the police can catch them more easily.

  • Elvia

    Really sorry for your loss. Have you tried to track down your lost car via the VIN please? Or do you have any video tapes that caught the images of the car thieves? If yes, the police can catch them more easily.

  • Elvia

    Hello Dipesh, really sorry for your loss.

    Do you have the VIN for your missing car? If yes, you can track down your stolen car with the number. Or do you have any video tapes that caught the images of the car thieves? If yes, the police can catch them more easily.

    • Johnny

      I have vin but where do i go to put it in use

      • Elvia

        Hello Johnny, please go to AutoCheck: dmv website, and purchase vehicle history report. The cost of the report will be between $30 and $40

        Enter your vehicle identification number and credit card details on the vehicle history report search screen, and you will see a chronological history of the places where your car was registered, titled and serviced.

  • Justine Marie

    Hi have you recovered your car? This just happened to me a week ago in Baltimore city.

  • hmm...

    Hello.. I hope you can help me. I'm just soo desperate on this.

    Under some circumstances, my car is with my relative in this past few months, I want to get it back but I can't get a hold of him ( calls/messages ignored, his house empty). If I want to locate my car, you say with VIN? How do I use my VIN to locate my car? big thanks if you could answer my problem

    • hmm...

      While the service cost quite alot but unfortunately I can't access the site. Is it because I'm outside US? I'm not from US. Does dmv provide worldwide report?

      • Elvia

        You can contact the local DMV for more details

        • hmm...

          I'll check the link and thanks for the fast reply

  • Shelly

    One thing no one has mentioned, that my friend is experiencing: her car was stolen last year and recovered the next day (very slightly damaged) and the insurance company had damage repaired. Now she is trying to sell it and it is marked almost as devalued as a SALVAGE title. It is worth thousands less than it would be without this history on the VIN. She would have been better off if they had totaled the car. Very unfair.

  • smdog

    My car was stolen by the body shop repairman who my insurance agent referred me to. He stole my car and copied the vin into a salvaged, flood damaged car of the same make, but different model and year. The police wouldn't look at the car or take a report or get the door back the repairman took off. I've contacted the district attorney's office but the secretary won't let me talk without a police report. Attorney General's office also would do nothing. I went to the police dept the 4th time and asked the police chief to please report my car stolen, but he wouldn't since ”I'm driving one with the same vin” . I live in USA but on google maps it now shows a street address in Italy as one of ”My Places” I've never been to Italy is it possible my real car is there?

    • smdog

      I want to add, I've contacted the dmv and the state tax commission, and ordered all the title and registration information for the car. These registrations are incorrect and a phone call shows even more inconsistencies such as dates and notary's commission had expired, my name is incorrectly spelled and not my signature. Insurance was no help just like every agency I called. If anyone knows why google maps shows an address in Italy as ”My Places” please let me know.

      • Elvia

        Hello there, really sorry for your loss.

        In most cases, there should be video surveillance near or around the body shop. You can require the policemen to check the video recordings to get the evidences that the repairman stolen your car.

        Also, you can ask help from the transportation officers to check your car's chronological history via the license plate number.

        Hope these suggestions would do you a favor.

  • Helen Macaulay

    My car was stolen today at 6.30pm, as I unloaded it.
    I was inside our property away from view from the road, people were around and only feet away coming and going, the thieves had made their way into the property via the stable yard. As I went to check an open gate upon driving in ,they made their way just out of my view back towards the car and his in a stable at the side of the vehicle. The vehicle was parked in an area where it appears the gate is locked. But because the culprits were in a stable they could see people exotingand entering via the gate and realised the chain could be slipped over to unhook and wasn't padlocked. As my back was turned as I unloaded horsefeed, they had time to steal the keys and then took their chance to scarper with them leaving the gate unlocked andhorses ableto run on the road.
    Most immediately after, I realised the keys were nowhere to be found and stated looking for them, thinking I had mislaid them. All afternoon we all looked, then as light faded, I was still out and going about hsngong hsynets just feet from car, often going into car to get torch or something from it, and all of a suddenit wa gone.

    I realise they were hiding in the property unbeknown to me. I never left the car Unttended.the keys were taken as I unloaded. Because the keys werentobviouslyin situ when I took my to the house, I assumed I had already put them in my bag. When my mum asked for them and they weren't there, I couldn't understand it. I knew she was taking the car out as soon as I had one in withthecarandhadtaken my things out of it.
    Now I'm worried that the insurance company won't payout because someone was lying in wait just feet from the car. Ormslly ilo kthecar andtskekeys when I leave it, but I wasunloading. In a secure gated area, with friends and family present.

    • Elvia

      Hello Helen, really sorry for your loss. In most cases, the insurance company will pay the compensation if your car was stolen. However, the case may vary since your car was parked near or in your property.

      Remember to file a police report and the police will help you investigate the case. Your car might be recovered once the police are able to track down your vehicle.

      After the detailed investigation, you can discuss with the insurance company to see if you'll get the compensation.

  • Fred Marshall

    Beofore you guys end up buying cars that always need a mechanic.. Just ran the history on
    you'll be able to get the previous history.

  • Fred Marshall

    Dealers are always out there to sneak in the hidden charges. I would highly recommend you guys to always check and ask about specific charges. I was purchasing a used BMW at a local dealership. The deal was done I was going into sign the paperwork and my friend just asked me if I looked into the history of the vehicle. Mind you this was my first transaction at a dealership so I was a bit confused. Regardless, my friends advice ended up saving me $11,999 for a car that was involved in TWO accidents on the report I pulled up on At the end of the day.. never trust dealers. They will seem nice but at the end of the day if you think about it.. its just another commission check for them.

    • michiamo

      What exactly does this have to do with recovering a stolen car???

  • Sheree M

    My car 2012 Buick Lacrosse was stolen from my home by a man I let borrow it and never came back with it. Police say I can't report it stolen because I gave him permission to drive my car. It's been 3 days since he's been gone and that's my only vehicle and now me and my 2 kids are stranded at home with no car. Any ideas on how I can track my car?

  • brendastone

    Nice Article!. i learnt about stolen car details. Thanks for sharing this



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