Q

Does car insurance cover vandalism?

A

Yes, if your car gets vandalized, your car insurance will cover it, but only if you have comprehensive coverage. That said, it might be cheaper to pay out of pocket than file a claim.

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Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an insurance editor at Policygenius, specializing in home, auto, and renters insurance. She's been writing about insurance since 2019, and her work and insights have been referenced in Kiplinger and WRAL.com.

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Stephanie Nieves

Stephanie Nieves

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City, specializing in home and auto insurance. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, PayScale, Fairygodboss, and The Muse.

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Updated March 8, 2021|4 min read

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Does comprehensive car insurance cover vandalism?

Yes, If you have comprehensive coverage as a part of your car insurance policy, damage from vandalism will be covered. Comprehensive car insurance covers types of damage that can happen to your car when it’s not being driven, including vandalism, theft, and damage related to weather. Damaged caused by vandalism might include: 

  • Your car being keyed

  • Your car being spray-painted 

  • Glue placed in your car’s locks

  • Slashes tires or broken windows

Comprehensive coverage is optional, meaning no states require you to have it. That said, comprehensive coverage is part of what’s considered a “full coverage” policy. Adding comp coverage won’t raise the price of your premium too much, and it could end up saving you tens of thousands of dollars if your car is badly vandalized.

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If you don’t have comprehensive insurance, damage from vandalism would not be covered. If you’re not sure whether you have comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance coverage, check your car insurance declarations page, or dec page. Your declarations page, which is usually attached to the front of your policy, lays out how much coverage you have. If you can’t find yours, contact your car insurance company directly.

Key Takeaways

  • Vandalism would be covered by comprehensive coverage, an optional coverage option that covers any damage not caused by a collision

  • Vandalism includes any action taken to deliberately cause damage to your car, like slashed tires or broken windows

  • If you think your car has been vandalized, safely document the damage, file a police report, and contact your car insurance company to file a claim

  • You can file a claim for vandalism, however comprehensive coverage requires you to pay a deductible. If the repairs are cheaper than the deductible, it’s cheaper to pay out of pocket

Does comprehensive coverage cover theft?

An important note: comprehensive insurance covers theft if your car itself is stolen, but if someone vandalizes your car by breaking a window and then takes your personal property from inside the car — say your laptop for example — car insurance wouldn’t cover that theft. However theft of personal items from your vehicle would be covered by your home, renters, or condo insurance, so it may still be covered by another policy even though it’s not covered by your auto insurance.

Does car insurance cover riots?

Yes, car insurance covers damage from riots in the same way that it covers vandalism. If you have comprehensive coverage, then your car is protected if it’s damaged due to a riot. That said, as with vandalism, if the damage isn’t too extensive, it might be cheaper to pay out of pocket for the repairs.

You’d have to pay a deductible before your insurance coverage would kick in, so if the repairs cost less than your deductible, you might be better off paying for it yourself. It’s a good idea to get an independent mechanic to give you a repair estimate before you decide to file a claim.

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How to file a car insurance claim for vandalism

If you think your car has been damaged by vandalism, don’t panic. There’s a simple list of steps you should take that will help make the claims process smoother if you do wind up filing a claim for the damage.

  1. Safely document the damage - After you’ve assessed the situation and made sure it’s not immediately dangerous, document the vandalism. Before you clean up or move anything, take photos from multiple angles. You should also note the date and time you discovered the damage and where your car was parked

  2. Speak to any eyewitnesses - If anyone saw the vandalism happen, save their name and contact information

  3. File a police report - Contact your local police department and file a police report. A police report may be required if you’re filing a vandalism claim. The police may or may not come to the scene, but either way, you’ll likely need to provide information like your car’s make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN)

  4. Contact your car insurance company - If you plan on filing a claim, you should contact your car insurance provider and notify them of the damage as soon as possible. You can usually do this online, over the phone, or through a mobile app if your provider has one. You’ll be assigned a claims adjustor, who will survey the damage and give you instructions about the next steps to take

  5. Get the damage to your vehicle repaired - If you’re filing a claim, your car insurance company may ask you to use a specific repair shop. If not, you’re free to shop around and choose any car repair service you want. If you’re filing a claim on the damage, save any receipts or documents related to the repairs

Will a vandalism claim raise my car insurance rates?

In many cases, a vandalism claim will not raise your rates because the damage was not your fault, unlike an at-fault accident. However, damage that is intentional, like spray-painting your car for a contest, would not be covered by car insurance.

Filing a vandalism claim vs. paying out of pocket

Although comprehensive coverage does cover vandalism, it actually might not be the most affordable route to take if the damage to your car isn’t that bad. An important factor to consider when it comes to filing a car insurance claim on vandalism damage is that comprehensive coverage usually requires you to pay an out-of-pocket deductible, often set at $500 or $1,000. Your comprehensive coverage will only cover the costs of repairs after you’ve paid the amount of the deductible.

So if your deductible is set at $500, and the cost of repairs came to $540, your insurance would only cover the remaining $40 after you paid the $500 deductible amount. For that reason, it’s not always worth it to go through the process of filing a claim, even if your insurance policy covers vandalism.

However, there’s an exception to this rule: Certain states do not require you to pay a deductible for “safety glass repair." If you live in a state that does not require a deductible for safety glass repair, and your windshield was smashed and vandalized, you would not have to pay a deductible, meaning there likely wouldn’t be out of pocket expenses. The same goes for policyholders who have full glass coverage as part of their policy, which will cover repairing or replacing safety glass without a deductible.

However, if a deductible would be required, you should know filing a claim can also raise your policy rates, so even if the cost of repairs is slightly more than the deductible amount, it still may not be worth risking a rate increase by filing a claim on the damage.

If you’re not sure how much repairs will cost, speak to an auto repair service and get a quote on the damage before you decide whether or not to file a claim.