For All Vehicle Claims

Vehicle Recovery – the CMA Safety-Net

CMA does not simply gather information for insurers to enable them to make an informed decision about a vehicle theft claim; we actively seek out data to assist everyone – the insured, our insurer client, ourselves and even the police!  For example, we regularly review the stolen status of a vehicle in the hope it will have been found, removed from the PNC (police national computer) as ‘LoS’ (lost or stolen) and can be reunited with its owner, ideally undamaged, thereby bringing an end to their inconvenience, distress and financial hardship.

This monitoring service frequently means we are the first to inform a victim their vehicle has been found; oddly, providing the update before the police do.

However, a service spin-off is the provision of a ‘safety net’ for under-resourced constabularies, many of which lack an understating of vehicle crime and processes.  In some instances, LoS markers fall off PNC inappropriately, they are weeded incorrectly.  We are able to alert the police to the situation promptly enabling them to act before any harm occurs.

It remains disappointing that notifying the police of a change in the LoS status must often come from the insured.  Due to an archaic ‘them and us’ approach to exchanging information, we are required to notify the insured and ask them to raise the issue with the constabulary.  Effectively, the police policy invites criticism of them by disclosing a failing that could otherwise be addressed promptly, and quietly thereby benefitting all.

It is also odd that, more often, we at CMA, as opposed to the police, are notifying victims of crime (insureds) that their stolen vehicles have been found; removed from the PNC LoS register.

Usually, the removal from the register means the vehicle has been located, commonly taken to a secure storage facility, a ‘pound’, incurring a fee of at least £150. An officer will update the PNC removing the ‘LoS’ marker and advises the victim of events unless there is a reason not to. Storage charges may start to arise of at least £20/day.

However, more commonly, we find the police have not notified the victim promptly, and it is we who convey the news which is often received by victims with some scepticism – why are adjusters telling us, as opposed to the constabulary?

If we have told you the VRM (vehicle registration mark) is no longer recorded as stolen, please read more here. Before advising you, we will have checked a public-facing register to corroborate our understanding.

Unfortunately, despite the PNC holding a record of the keeper (likely the insured), details of the insurer concerned and there having been LoS activity associated with the VRM the police are seldom willing to provide information to insurers or their representatives.  Accordingly, it is necessary for the victim to approach the constabulary and ascertain:

  • where the vehicle is
  • its condition
  • whether it has been ‘released’ i.e. if the police are finished with it and collection can be arranged. Generally, ‘release’ follows the police having photographed, examined (for fingerprints) and searched the vehicle.

We suggest you also record details of the constabulary staff you speak with:

  • their name & number
  • phone number
  • email address

Having established the above, you should liaise with your insurers; will they arrange recovery and removal to a less expensive storage facility?  In some instances, vehicles are located without damage and the victim will look to collect them.  Be mindful of the following:

  • Storage charges can accrue daily
  • Do you need to CAREFULLY search the vehicle – be mindful of sharp objects and contraband.
  • If you have been reunited with the undamaged vehicle and received no payout, you may still need to declare the theft to an insurer; commonly you are asked whether you have been the victim of a theft and/or made a claim.

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