If you have comprehensive coverage as a part of your car insurance policy, vandalism is covered
If your car has been vandalized, you should file a police report, document the damage, and get eyewitness reports if possible
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
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 was keyed or defaced, or your windshield was 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, but only if you have comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance policy.
But even if damage from vandalism is covered by your car insurance, it’s not always worth filing a claim. Like most things with insurance, whether or not you should file a claim depends on various factors, like the details of your policy and how extensive the damage is.
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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. Comprehensive coverage is optional, meaning no states require you to have it. That said, comprehensive 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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).
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.
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.
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 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 a caveat to this rule: Certain states do not require you to pay a deductible for “safety glass repair.” For example, 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.
About the authors
Anna Swartz is a Managing Editor at Policygenius in New York City, and an expert in auto insurance. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic, writing about news and culture. Her work has appeared in The Dodo, AOL, HuffPost, Salon and Heeb.
Kara McGinley is an Insurance Editor at Policygenius. She previously worked as a freelance writer and a copywriter for various startups. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, Mask Magazine, and more.
Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.
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