Be sure follow certain steps and take specific measures to protect your car to ensure your claim is covered by auto insurance.
Finding out your car has been vandalized can make your stomach drop, but if you have Comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, your auto insurance will often cover this type of damage. Keep in mind, even if you have the proper coverage, there are some steps you should take to ensure the damage is covered by your auto policy.
File a Claim
First things first: Whenever you need to make an auto insurance claim, your policy outlines what you should do. Most likely you can find these in the "Duties in Case of an Accident or Loss" section of your policy. Most insurance policies state that you must report your claim as soon as you can. When you do this, it's important that you provide as much information about your loss as possible, including the time, place, any witness information, etc.
In cases of vandalism, you also should notify the police within 24 hours of the incident. If you're unable to do this, make sure you contact the police as soon as you can. Filing a police report provides an official record of the incident, which often is used to help resolve your claim.
Additionally, your insurance company may ask you for specific documentation, such as a police report or personal statements. Your insurance company may also ask for receipts for any stolen items that are protected under Comprehensive coverage, like aftermarket car stereos. All of these items will help resolve your claim quicker, so be sure you have these readily available.
Protect Your Vehicle After a Loss
Your policy may also require you to take steps to protect your vehicle from any further loss after it's been vandalized. For instance, if a window was broken, you should cover it as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Often, your insurance company will pay for the steps you take or the materials you use — as long as the expenses are reasonable.
If you knowingly left a broken window as is without covering it and heavy rains poured later that night, any damage caused to your interior or electrical systems would not be covered by your auto insurance policy.
Also, while you should wait for a claims adjuster to assess the damage, you don't need to wait to protect your car from further loss. In general, once the police have taken the evidence they need from your vehicle and have given you the OK to move your car, you should take steps to prevent any further damage or loss to it. Your claims adjuster most likely will provide a damage estimate after this.
What Your Insurance Company Will Do
Having your car broken into or vandalized is a violation of your privacy, and your insurance company understands that. Once your insurance company has assessed the damage, they'll guide you through your repair options to help restore your vehicle to its condition before the incident occurred.
If your stereo was stolen, you'll receive a new one that's comparable to what was in your car before the break-in. If your dashboard was cut, it'll be fixed. Remember that your insurance company is there to help you, so if you have any questions about your claim, don't hesitate to ask them.
The information in this blog may vary based on your particular state or situation. Always refer to your insurance policy for your specific coverages.