This publication explains what to do if someone vandalized your car. Typically, when someone has vandalized your car, you make a record of the damage and file a police report. You could sue the person for vandalism if you have proof that they vandalized your vehicle.
If you have comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy, your insurance company will cover the vandalism. However, you would have paid the deductible of your policy before it can cover the vandal’s damages.
A comprehensive policy does not cover personal property stolen from your vandalized vehicle. You have to file a claim under your renters or homeowners insurance policy to be reimbursed for those stolen items.
What to do if someone vandalized your car
This section covers what you have to do after someone has vandalized your vehicle:
Make notes of the damages
Evaluate and document any damages vandals have done to your car. Take pictures and make videos of the vandalized car.
Do not clean up the broken glass or paint of pick any dispersed part until the police arrive, and you would have taken pictures of everything.
You need these documented photographs of the vandalized car to file a police report. The photographs also help you to defend your claim with your insurance company. The insurance might think you vandalized the car to total it.
Look around for any witnesses. If any, you can be sure to present a strong case when making a claim for the vandalized vehicle.
Take note of stolen personal property or items
You need a list of every stolen item in the vandalized car. For, instance a vandal smashing your vehicle window is probably after visible personal items in it.
Go through the items you had in the vehicle, and make a list of them. List out all your personal documents stolen from the vandalized car.
File a police report
The next thing to do if someone vandalized your vehicle is to contact the police. You will be sent a dispatch officer to assess the scene. Ensure to call the non-emergency number of your local police.
Read also: Your fate if your no-insurance car is stolen
Present your documented list when filing your police report. Your insurance company will need the police report for their adjuster’s investigation.
If the police will not show up immediately to assess the damage, you may have to file a report at a local station or over the phone. Prepare the following documents when filing a police report:
- Photographs of your vandalized vehicle
- Your valid driver’s license
- Your valid insurance card or policy declaration page
- Vehicle’s registration information
- A detailed list of stolen personal items
- Location of the crime
- Date and time of the vandalism and theft
Inform your insurance company
The next thing to do is to call your insurance agent. You have to assess if it is worth it to file a claim. If you decide to file an insurance claim, your insurance company will require the police report and photo/video evidence to process any claim you file.
If you have homeowners or renters insurance claim, you may want to file a claim for the stolen items in the vandalized vehicle.
Protect your sensitive details
If your sensitive documents are among the stolen items, including your credit card and bank account information, you may set up a fraud alert with the credit bureaus. You can contact the bank or use your banking app to hotlist or disable the stolen card.
If your gadgets, including mobile phones and laptops, have been stolen as well, take security measures to protect yourself and relatives who may be contacting the devices thinking it is you. You may be able to track and recover the stolen gadgets but the chance is not a big one.
Get a quote and determine if you should file a claim
Get in touch with your insurance agent or have a reputable body shop estimate the repair cost. Even with comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance, you may have to pay a deductible before the insurance kicks in or receive a reimbursement.
If the cost of repairing your vandalized vehicle does not exceed your deductible, and you are yet to pay money towards your deductible in another claim filed the same year, consider paying for the repairs from your pocket.
If you decide to file a vandalism claim, the insurer will typically have a claim adjuster assess the damage and recommend an auto body shop to have the vehicle repaired.
Auto insurance does not cover vandalism and theft
As mentioned earlier, if you have comprehensive insurance in your auto insurance policy, your insurance company covers any form of vandalism or theft.
A comprehensive policy usually comes with a deductible you need to pay for the policy to kick in. Therefore, it could be financially advisable to pay for the repairs yourself due to the deductible.
Full insurance coverage will include comprehensive insurance. Suppose a vandal breaks your windshield, and the repair cost is $670. Your comprehensive coverage includes a $600 deductible, and your vehicle insurance company may give you a $70 reimbursement.
This vandalism claim may cause your insurance company to increase your insurance rates for the next 3 years. The increased rates can quickly eclipse the $70 insurance payout.
In some cases, however, minor damage such as a small nick, chip, or crack on the windshield, would be covered by the insurer without any deductible. For instance, Geico will waive your deductible for damage like a small chip, nick, or crack smaller than a quarter that can be repaired. They can send a professional repair technician to your office or home.
This gesture is put in place to encourage you to make those repairs immediately you detect them to prevent them from causing additional and costlier damage.
Your comprehensive insurance does not cover the stolen items
As mentioned earlier, although comprehensive insurance covers damage from vehicle vandalism or a break-in, it does not cover stolen items. Your homeowners or renters insurance policy is responsible to get those stolen items covered.
Like comprehensive insurance, homeowners or renters insurance policy comes with a deductible. Consider not filing this claim unless items of substantial value, including your phone or laptop, have been stolen.
If you decide to file a claim, ensure to list out the items on your police report.