Does Auto Insurance Cover Vandalism?
If you live in a big city, vandalism on your car is always a concern. Although it may not stop the car from running, it’s unsightly and devalues your car. Vandalism coverage is always helpful to have, particularly in New York, where cities and towns are very dense and your chances of experiencing vandalism are higher than they would be in a rural area. Not all forms of auto insurance in New York cover vandalism. If you want your car insurance policy to cover vandalism, you are going to need comprehensive car insurance. Here’s what you need to know about auto insurance and vandalism.
What is comprehensive car insurance?
Comprehensive car insurance covers damage to your car that’s not as a result of a collision. Comprehensive insurance is virtually always paired with collision insurance on your policy, but not all collision policies come with comprehensive insurance. If you aren’t sure whether or not you have comprehensive car insurance, you can check on your policy declarations page to see if a dollar amount is listed for comprehensive coverage. This dollar amount is your deductible for comprehensive coverage.
What should I do if my car is vandalized?
When your car is vandalized, it’s natural to feel panicked and overwhelmed. Start by taking a deep breath and then take pictures of the damage from as many angles as possible to ensure that it is appropriately documented. Next, you will need to call your local police so you can file a report. Don’t call 911 unless you feel you are in physical danger – instead, look up the number for your local police station. While you are waiting for the police to arrive, avoid touching anything or cleaning it up, as it is technically considered a crime scene and they will want to collect evidence. Make sure you obtain a copy of the police report when it is filed, as you will need to give it to your insurance company to get coverage. Keep in mind that if the police do eventually catch the vandal, you can opt to press charges if you would like.
How to file a vandalism claim
After you’ve got the police report for the vandalism, it’s time to file a claim with the car insurance company. Before you do this, assemble all of the documentation you have of the incident. You should also look up your comprehensive deductible and find out the cost of getting your car repaired in your area, as your insurance company will likely ask questions about this.
The next step is to call your insurance provider. If you work with an independent insurance agent, you can contact them and they will put you in touch with the appropriate party. Your insurance company will ask you a list of questions about the incident to get as much detail as possible. You should answer these questions as comprehensively as possible, and be honest if you don’t know the answer to something.
Once you have answered the initial questions, you will typically need to meet with a claims adjuster to verify the damage. This is because vandalism claims are often filed fraudulently. After they have verified the damages and approved coverage, you can get your car repaired. If you don’t know where to get your car repaired, ask your insurance company if they have any preferred shops for vandalism. It’s also worth digging into your policy to see if your insurance company covers the cost of a rental car or any alternative transportation while your car is in the shop. Finally, you’ll need to pay your deductible to the auto repair shop when you pick your car up. This is why it’s so important to check the cost of your deductible before you file your claim so that you don’t experience any unwanted sticker shock when your car is repaired.
How to prevent automobile vandalism
Auto vandalism is common, and it’s difficult to prevent completely. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of being a victim of vandalism.
- Set up a car alarm. If your car doesn’t come with its own alarm, you can purchase one online. A loud car alarm is usually enough to scare away vandals, particularly in a city where the noise is likely to attract attention.
- Park in garages or well-lit areas. If you can park in a garage, this is always the safest option. However, garages can be expensive and aren’t available everywhere. In this case, stick to places that are well-lit. Vandals are less likely to target areas with plenty of streetlights, as they are more likely to be identified. Never leave your car somewhere deserted, particularly for long periods of time.
- If you have a serious problem with vandalism in your neighborhood, you may want to set up security cameras. This won’t be necessary in most cases, but if you want to take strong action against vandalism, this is a good way to do it.