What to do if the car gets stolen?

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Losing car

Many a times, people stuck in some situations where it becomes difficult to think clearly about the solutions. Losing one’s car is one of them situations. When you go out, you park your cars in the places wherever you get space whether they are safe or not, so the incidents of car burglary are on rise.

What can you do if your car gets stolen? How can you find your car? How can you get insurance claim? What are the series of steps which can be taken in case your car gets stolen? These are the questions which arise in the minds of car owners.

Procedure to be followed

Following are the steps which should be followed in case the car gets stolen:

  • The first task in case your vehicle is lost is to lodge First Information Report (FIR) in the nearest police station. All the details of vehicle and the place where you parked it should be told. Information regarding license plate, the VIN, car’s brand, model, colour, your last location, etc should be given and it is essential to keep the copy of FIR. This would be helpful to carry on further steps and to get insurance claim.
  • Nextly, the owner of the car needs to inform the insurance company as soon as possible. If you are not aware of the ambit of your insurance company that whether the insurance policy covers the cases of stolen car or not, then this would be the time to know the same in order to get the insurance claim.
  • Informing the Road Transport Office (RTO) where the car was registered is also an essential step. Details regarding the theft of car is to be told.
  • If the police is able to locate the car then information should be given to the insurance company immediately but if the car could not be traced by the police, then owner should get no-trace report from the police station for the insurance claim.
  • Last step is to submit some documents to the insurance company in order to get the insurance claim. Following are the necessary documents:
  • The Original FIR copy
  • Copy of policy documents
  • Duly signed claim form
  • Original car keys
  • Copy of Registration Certificate
  • RTO transfer papers duly signed [i]

The procedure to get the insurance claim differs from one insurance company to the other. So the policy holders should call the customer care in order to understand the whole process of submitting the documents for the insurance claim.

Also the incidents of car theft are different which may or may not provide insurance claim to the policy holders. In National Insurance Company Limited v. Nitin Khandelwal[ii], the insurance claim was denied by the Insurance Company because the car which was stolen was registered as a private vehicle but was being used as taxi by the owner. It was contended by the insurer that there were breach of terms and conditions so they cannot give the insurance claim. But here the Supreme Court held that “In case of theft of vehicle, breach of condition is not germane”.

Punishment for theft under Indian Penal Code, 1860

If the person who has stolen the car is traced then the person can be charged under Indian Penal Code, 1860 for the offence of theft. Section 378 defines theft as, “Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any moveable property out of the possession of any person without that per­son’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.”According to  Section 379, theft is a cognizable, non- bailable offence where the imprisonment can be extended upto 3 years and fine can also be imposed.

Jurisdiction

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, talks about the jurisdiction of cases of theft. According to Section 181(5) of the Code, “any offence which includes the possession of stolen property may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed or the stolen property was possessed by any person who received or retained it knowing or having reason to believe it to be stolen property”.

One cannot escape from some situations but it is necessary to take precautions to avoid problems. All the measures which can protect the vehicles from getting stolen should be adopted but in case anyone faces this situation then proper procedure should be followed to get the vehicle back. The person who commits theft can be charged under Indian Penal Code, 1860 but if the owner of car is not able to trace it then process for getting insurance claim should be initiated as soon as possible.

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Reference

[i]The Indian Express, Car stolen? Follow these steps to claim theft insurance successfully, http://www.newindianexpress.com/business/2018/aug/06/car-stolen-follow-these-steps-to-claim-theft-insurance-successfully-1853835.html (Last visited August 15, 2019, 11.30 AM)

[ii] (2008) 11 SCC 256

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Ritika Sharma
I am Ritika Sharma, pursuing B.com LLB (Hons.) from University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. My fields of interest are Law and psychology. I love to research and write articles and poems on social issues. I have a penchant for reading novels of different genres. When I am not reading or writing, I am probably sketching and watching movies. I like exploring and knowing the facts of mysterious places and incidents as well.