Does Car Insurance Cover Vandalism?

Does Car Insurance Cover Vandalism?

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If your car is vandalized, any necessary repairs would be covered, as long as you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive insurance covers all costs associated with vandalism, though you usually have to pay a deductible.

When does auto insurance cover vandalism?

If you have comprehensive insurance on your auto policy, you would be covered for all cases of vandalism. Whether your car was keyed or spray painted, the windshield was shattered or something else, you can file a comprehensive claim with your insurer, who will then reimburse you or pay the auto shop for the costs of the repairs.

Comprehensive coverage also shields you from other events that are out of your control, such as:

  • Flood damage
  • Theft
  • Animal damage
  • Tree or branch damage

An important clarification to make is that only the car and necessary repairs themselves will be covered for vandalism. Any belongings you own within the car, like a computer, a stereo that wasn't a part of the car or purse would not be covered by your car insurance if they are damaged or stolen. Personal property that is ruined in an act of vandalism would be covered under your renters or homeowners insurance policy.

What to do if you don't have comprehensive insurance

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do if your car is vandalized and you don't have comprehensive insurance. Your insurer has no legal obligation to cover the costs of repairing your car. Your best bet is for law enforcement to arrest the person or people responsible, at which point you can seek financial damages against them.

We recommend that every driver with a car less than 10 years old and/or worth more than $3,000 buy comprehensive insurance. You can generally get the coverage for $50–$100 per year, depending on your insurer. The potential cost of damages from vandalism or another uncontrollable event is far greater than the five-year cost of comprehensive coverage, based on our calculations.

Should you file a claim after your car is defaced?

Just because your car is defaced doesn't necessarily mean you should file a claim with your auto insurer. You have to be aware of the cost of your deductible). Comprehensive insurance comes with a deductible anywhere between $50 and $2,000. If the damage to your car can be repaired for less than $400, it wouldn't make sense to file a claim if your deductible is $500.

If the total cost of repairs is just slightly above your deductible (for example, repairs cost $600 and your deductible is $500), it may be more cost effective in the long run to pay for the repairs yourself. If you file a claim with your insurer, they may raise your rates the next time you renew a policy, costing you more money over the years.

Typical costs to repair car vandalism

New paint job$300–$1,000
Fix or replace windshield$120 to $1,000
Fix dents$50 to $200
Repair scratches$50 to $300

How to file a car insurance claim for vandalism

When your car is vandalized, you have to make sure you follow a specific process to ensure your claim is handled as efficiently and smoothly as possible. The steps you need to take are:

  1. Call the police.
  2. File a police report.
  3. Call your insurance company.
  4. Speak with the claims adjuster.
  5. Take the car in for repairs.

It all begins with calling the police as soon as you see your car has been tampered with. Vandalism is a criminal offense, so if you go to your insurer with a vandalism claim without first notifying the police, it can throw suspicion on the validity of the claim. You need to notify the police, have them inspect the scene and then obtain a copy of the police report. You will also want to jot down any of your own observations of the scene, which may be important later, when talking with your insurer or as the memory fades.

After getting the police report, contact your car insurance company either over the phone or online. In the initial contact, the insurer will ask where the incident took place, the extent of the damage, a police report number and possibly about your lender or leasing company if you do not own the car. After the initial claim is filed, the company will send over one of its adjusters to assess the damage firsthand.

In the time between filing the claim and the adjuster coming, you need to make sure the car stays in the same condition as you found it. Do not attempt to repair the damage at all. If you can drive the car, drive it to a safe spot — preferably your own garage. If it gets towed, be sure to take all of your important documentation out of the car.

After the adjuster makes their assessment, it's time to repair the car. After paying the deductible, your company will either reimburse you for the cost of the repairs or directly pay the auto shop.

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