Car vandalism is costly, but in some cases your insurance coverage might help you pay for the damages. However, depending on the circumstances, it might not always be worth it to file a claim. Knowing more about car vandalism and how insurance covers it will help you make a decision should your car be vandalized.
A lot of vehicle vandalism takes the form of broken windows, keyed doors or slashed tires. However, thieves in the U.S. have recently been using hacksaws to go after catalytic converters on hybrid and electric vehicles. These converters contain small amounts of precious metals which has led to the rising trend in thefts.
What is auto vandalism?
Auto vandalism is intentional destruction or damage to a vehicle. It comes in a few common forms, but if you have the right coverage in your policy, then auto insurance might help pay for the repairs. Here are a few types of vandalism you may run into:
- Body damage/defacement: Car body damage can occur through spray-painting or using sharp objects to scratch paint off the car’s exterior, for example. Sometimes minor scratches can be buffed out, but often these types of body damage require a new paint job or replaced panels.
- Broken windows and lights: Broken windshields or other car windows almost always require replacement, and damaged headlights or side mirrors also generally require a new part to be installed.
- Slashed or stolen tires: If tires are slashed or stolen, your car will not be driveable, so it may require a tow truck to get it into the repair shop. It is a good idea to check your policy and see what is covered by your insurance.
If your car has been vandalized and you want your insurance to cover the repairs, it is important to begin the claims process as soon as possible. But for insurance to help pay for the damages, you must have the right coverage in your policy.
Car insurance and vandalism
Your auto insurance will cover damages resulting from vandalism, but only if the policy includes comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage, along with collision coverage, is typically included in full coverage auto insurance policies.
Comprehensive coverage is optional, meaning state laws generally do not require you to have it. But if you are financing your car with a loan or lease, full coverage may be required by the lender. It is important to note that comprehensive coverage will not cover any personal items within the car stolen during the vandalism. Coverage for your belongings would come from your renters or homeowners insurance. If personal property is stolen from a vehicle, it is a good idea to talk to your insurance company to discuss the coverage options.
Filing an insurance claim after your car has been vandalized is not always the best way forward. You will generally need to pay a deductible before the comprehensive coverage will pay for the damages. If the damage to your vehicle is only slightly higher than your deductible, then you might be better off paying the repair expenses out of pocket. An agent can help you decide if filing a claim is your best option.
If you are not sure if your policy includes comprehensive coverage, check the policy details listed on your declaration page. You can also call your agent or insurance company to clarify what is covered.
Insurance claims for vandalism should be filed as soon as possible after you notice the damage. You may need to file a police report before filing a claim with your insurer. To make sure the claims process goes smoothly, it is important to know the general steps involved in filing a car vandalism claim.
Call the police
First, make sure you are not in any danger. Vandalism is a crime, so if your car has been vandalized, you may want to contact your local police department and file a report. If you decide to file a claim with your auto insurer, then a police report may be required. It is a good idea to write down the damages caused by the vandalism while they are fresh in your mind. These details can be helpful later, when speaking with your insurance company.
File a police report
The police department may or may not send someone to the scene. If they do, they may want to inspect your vehicle. If no one is available at the time, you may need to file the police report by phone. Be completely honest and give as many details as you can. Ask for a copy of the report, as you may need to give it to your insurance claim representative.
Contact your auto insurer
As soon as possible, you should contact your auto insurer to file the claim. This can usually be done over the phone, and some insurers have mobile apps or online tools that allow claims filing. The insurer will likely ask for the date and time of the incident, where the damage is located on the car, where the car was parked and the police report number. It is helpful to have this information ready when filing the claim.
Meet with the claims adjuster
Vandalism claims often require an inspection by a claims adjuster, so you will probably need to set up a time for them to view the vehicle. The adjuster will take note of the damages and give you the next steps in the claim process.
Have the car repaired
Once your auto insurer approves your claim, take your car into the repair shop. The insurer may provide you with a list of preferred repair facilities, but you can use a facility not included on their list if you wish. If you do not use the insurer-recommended shop, keep in mind the process could take longer.
Frequently asked questions
What happens if your policy does not have comprehensive coverage?
You will not be covered for damages resulting from vandalism unless your policy includes comprehensive coverage at the time that the damage occured. Your insurance provider will likely not allow you to add comprehensive coverage retroactively. If you are concerned about vandalism damage to your vehicle, it may be worth adding comprehensive coverage to your policy proactively.
How much does full coverage insurance cost?
The price of full coverage auto insurance depends on a range of factors, including the car you drive, your driving history, your age, your location and more. To find the best policy for your needs, we recommend shopping around and getting quotes from a few different insurers to compare prices.
What incidents does comprehensive auto insurance cover?
Comprehensive coverage provides protection for a wide range of events. If your auto policy includes comprehensive coverage, your insurance may cover damage resulting from natural disasters, fire, riots and vandalism, theft, falling objects and impacts with animals on the road. Each company’s coverage may differ slightly, so talk to your agent to clarify the specific coverages on your policy.