Does car insurance cover vandalism?

If someone keyed your car, here’s how to know if insurance will cover it.

Anna Swartz 1600

Anna Swartz

Published April 5, 2019

No one wants to return to their car and discover it’s been vandalized, but if it happens to you, it’s important to know what steps to take next and whether or not the damage will be covered by your car insurance policy.

If your car has been keyed or defaced, or your windshield has been smashed or scratched, or you notice any other type of vandalism-related damage, the costs related to the damage may be covered by your car insurance, if you have comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance.

But even if damage from vandalism is covered by your car insurance, it’s not always worth filing a claim. Let’s take a look at what to do if your car had been vandalized and how to decide whether or not to file a claim on the vandalism damage.

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What to do if your car has been vandalized

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 on the damage.

  • 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.

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

  • File a police report. Contact your local police department and file a police report. 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).

  • 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. 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 give you instructions about the next steps to take.

  • 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.

When is vandalism covered by car insurance

If you have comprehensive coverage as a part of your car insurance policy, damage from vandalism will likely be covered. Comprehensive car insurance covers types of damage that can happen to your car when it’s not being driven, including damage related to:

  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Flood
  • Fire
  • Falling objects
  • Theft
  • Animal damage (including collision with an anima)
  • And, yes, vandalism.

If you don’t have comprehensive insurance, damage from vandalism wouldn’t 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.

An important note: comprehensive insurance covers theft if your car itself is stolen, but if someone breaks into your car and takes your items from inside, car insurance wouldn’t cover that theft. But theft of personal items from your vehicle may 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.

Filing with insurance vs. paying out of pocket

Another 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 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. 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.