When someone breaks into or vandalizes your car, it is devastating. Criminal vehicle damage can be a hassle for you. You have to worry about filing insurance claims and getting the vehicle repaired. These crimes are common, but there are steps you can take to prevent them. Here are a few tips for what you can do if your vehicle is damaged and how you can stop these criminal acts in the future.
What To Do After Someone Breaks Into or Vandalizes Your Car
After the shock wears off, you need to take action. You might want to file a claim to get the car repaired, but you need to document the damage.
Make a Police Report
A few vehicle owners are reluctant to call the police. However, you need to file a police report. Some vandals target multiple vehicles in the area. Your damage might be tied to a widespread crime ring, and the police need to know about it.
Along with that, your insurance company often requires a police report to process your claim. While some police departments will send an officer, others might ask you to come down and file a report. If that is the case, you will need the following:
- Your driver’s license
- Vehicle registration
- Insurance card
- Photographs of the damage
- A detailed list of stolen items
List Your Stolen Items
Unfortunately, when someone breaks your window, they want the personal items in the vehicle. If anything is missing, you will want to include those items on the list. Make sure to check the entire vehicle, even the glove compartment. Anything from personal papers to spare coins should be listed as stolen items.
You will need this list when you file a police report or insurance claim. In some situations, sensitive documents could be stolen, such as bank statements or credit cards. You might want to set up a fraud alert with the credit bureaus or think about freezing your bank accounts and credit cards.
File an Insurance Claim
Once you have a police report, you can talk to your insurance company. Under most situations, they will have you take the vehicle to a body shop for an estimate. The insurance company could send an adjuster to assess the damage, providing you with a recommendation to get the repairs done. If you have any glass damage, you will want to get those areas fixed as soon as possible. A broken window can lead to injuries and cause further damage to your vehicle.
Get Your Vehicle Repaired
Finally, you can take your vehicle in for a repair. Some vehicle owners will pay for these repairs out of pocket, while others will work with their insurance companies. In any case, you need to have the damage fixed on your vehicle. Make sure to trust those repairs to a reliable and experienced body shop. These technicians will use OEM parts to ensure that the vehicle continues to meet the manufacturers’ safety and performance standards.
You will want to put this incident behind you. For that reason, choose a body shop that can help restore the pre-damaged appearance of your vehicle.
Does Car Insurance Cover Vandalism and Theft?
Not all insurance policies are the same. You should be protected from car theft or vandalism if you have comprehensive coverage. Keep in mind that many of these policies have a deductible that you must pay before the policy covers the repairs. In some cases, you might want to pay for those costs yourself.
For example, if the cost to repair your window is $550, but you have a $500 deductible, you might want to pay for the repair. Otherwise, you will only receive a $50 reimbursement from your insurance provider.
Some insurance companies will increase your rates after making a claim. Your policy could cover certain types of damage, such as a broken windshield. A few insurance companies will cover glass repairs without making you pay a deductible.
If someone breaks into your vehicle and takes your belongings, are those personal items covered under your insurance policy? Comprehensive insurance covers damage from break-ins, but you are out of luck for personal items. Renters or homeowners insurance policies can cover those personal items. Remember that those policies will have their own deductibles. If you have something valuable stolen, such as a laptop, you will want to file a claim. Make sure these items are listed in the police report so that you can claim them with the insurance company.
Ways To Deter Vandalism or Theft
After dealing with this stressful situation, you will want to prevent it from happening in the future. Think about installing a security system or cameras in your vehicle. These alarms can notify you if someone is trying to break into your car.
You never want to hide spare keys in the car. For example, some people will have a second set in the visor area. That is never a good idea.
Don’t keep anything valuable in the car. If you have these items on the seat, that is tempting to would-be criminals. Even power cords could signal that you have a smartphone or other electronics located in the vehicle. Keep everything out of sight. If you cannot bring them inside your home, place those valuable items in the trunk.
Lock your windows and doors. Nearly one-quarter of vehicle thefts are the result of an unlocked door. You can reduce your chances of becoming a crime victim by locking the doors and windows.
Finally, always park in a visible area. Keep the vehicle away from trees or bushes. You want to park in a lighted area to reduce your chances of someone damaging your car.
Having your vehicle damaged from a break-in or vandalism can be a massive headache. You can fix some of that damage by taking your car to a reputable auto body shop.
Take Your Vehicle To an Experienced Auto Body Shop
Our technicians at Elmer’s Auto Body are trained and certified to handle all repairs, including fixing damage due to break-ins or vandalism. When you need an auto body shop “near me”, make sure to schedule an appointment. Call us at (856) 218-0202.