Selecting a language will automatically trigger the translation of the page content.

What to do if a vehicle is stolen?

Verified 11 March 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

The theft of a vehicle (car, motorbike, bicycle...) must be reported to the police or gendarmerie as soon as possible. You must also report the theft to your insurer within the time limit set out in your contract.

If the robbery is in progress or has just been committed, you must call the 17th.

The police or gendarmerie can intervene by sending one or more teams to stop the stolen vehicle.

If your vehicle (car, motorcycle, bicycle, trailer...) has been stolen, you must promptly file a complaint.

If the vehicle is stolen from your garage, do not touch anything until the police or gendarmerie arrive to make scientific findings.

Carte grise If necessary, also report the theft of the documents (taking, insurance...) of the vehicle and the fact that your vehicle has an anti-theft GPS tracker.


your criminal liability and civil for offenses committed with your vehicle is presumed until this complaint is filed.

Your complaint leads to the registration of your vehicle with the object and vehicle register (FOVeS) and with the police vehicle registration system (SIV).

The FOVeS facilitates searches and checks by the police and gendarmerie for the discovery and return of stolen vehicles to owners.

The Vehicle Registration System (VRS) is searchable by law enforcement. Any new application for registration of this vehicle is then blocked.

The police or gendarmerie can also consult the Pound and Fixed Asset Register.

This register allows the registration of vehicles impounded or immobilized by law enforcement following an offense and vehicles found wrecked.


upon request of its owner, a bicycle can be identified and marked with a unique number that allows registration on Bicycode. The police and gendarmerie have access to the National Unique Register of Identified Cycles (UNCIF).

On the spot

You must go to a police station or the gendarmerie of your choice.

Who shall I contact

The police or gendarmerie services are obliged to register the complaint.

The complaint is then forwarded to the public prosecutor for a decision on further action (investigation, closure without further action...).

If you don't know the perpetrator, you can fill out an online pre-complaint before traveling.

You will then get an appointment and the police or gendarmes will already have the elements of your complaint upon your arrival.

Online Pre-Complaint

By mail

You can file a complaint with the public prosecutor.

We need to send a free-form letter the court of law of the place of the offense or of the domicile of the offender.

Who shall I contact

The letter should specify the following:

  • Your marital status and full contact information (address and telephone number)
  • Detailed account of the facts, date and place of the offense
  • Name of the alleged perpetrator if known (otherwise, the complaint will be filed against X)
  • Names and addresses of any witnesses to the offense
  • Description and provisional or definitive estimate of the damage
  • Evidence: medical certificates, work stoppages, miscellaneous invoices, findings ...
  • Willingness to take civil action

File a complaint with the public prosecutor

Who shall I contact

You can send your complaint by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, by simple letter or by letter followed.

You can also file your complaint directly at the courthouse.

In any case, a receipt is given to you as soon as the Public Prosecutor's Office has registered your complaint.

You must report the theft to your insurance within the time limit set out in your contract.

This period must be at least 2 working days from the time of the facts or from the time you became aware of them.

For example, declaring your property to the insurer can help you avoid liability if the thief causes an accident or damages property with your vehicle.

The insurer may ask you for a copy of your complaint.

The insurance covers the damage caused and is responsible for defending you in court if you are personally implicated.

If you have purchased the flight guarantee, the insurer may compensate you for damages related to the theft or attempted theft.

Please note

if your vehicle was parked at your home, you can also report this theft to your home insurance. This can cover theft-related damage, depending on your contract (e.g. broken lock).

If the insured vehicle is not found within the time limit provided by your insurance contract, generally 1 month, you can ask your insurer to be compensated.

Carte grise The compensation is against the delivery of the keys and the certificate of registration) of the vehicle.

If you are unable to obtain insurance compensation, you can contact the Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Crime (Civi). To do so, theft must have caused serious problems in your life and your income must not exceed certain limits.

Please note

carte grise your vehicle remains valid if your vehicle is later found.

Who can help me?

Find who can answer your questions in your region