Does Car Insurance Cover Vandalism?

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If your car is vandalized, any necessary repairs would be covered so long as you have comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive insurance covers all costs associated with vandalism, though you usually have to pay a deductible. In this article we go more in-depth into cases involving vandalism and auto insurance.

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, the windshield shattered, spray painted, etc. you can file a comprehensive claim with your insurer, who will then reimburse you for the costs of the repairs. Comprehensive coverage also shields you from other damaging 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, stereo that wasn't a part of the car, purse, etc. would not be covered by your car insurance if they are defaced 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 the car. Your best bet would be for law enforcement to arrest the person or people responsible and seek civil charges against them.

We recommend every driver with a car worth more than $3,000 and/or is less than 10 years old have comprehensive insurance. You can generally get the coverage for $50 to $100 per year, depending on your insurer. The potential cost of damages from vandalism, or any other uncontrollable event that can wreck your car 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, with the higher deductibles costing lower premiums. If the damage to your car can be repaired is less than $400, it wouldn't make sense to file a claim if your deductible is $500.

If the total cost of repairs claimed is just slightly above your deductible as well - e.g. repairs cost $600 and your deductible is $500 - it may be more cost effective in the long run to forgo the claim. 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. The table below will give you a rough idea of what it may cost to repair common examples of vandalism.

ActCost
New paint job$300 to $1,000
Broken/ chipped windshield$120 to $1,000
Fixing 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 following lists the steps you need to take when filing a vandalism claim, with more in-depth below.

  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 notifying the police, it can throw suspicion over 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 become important later when talking with your insurer or as memory fades.

After getting the police report, contact your car insurance company either over the phone or online if they allow it. In the initial contact, insurers 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 first hand.

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. Your company may require you use a certain auto shop, if not, take it to one you feel comfortable with. After paying the deductible, your company will either reimburse your for the cost of the repairs or directly pay the auto shop.

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