Your vehicle was vandalized? Here's what to do next

Car with smashed window
Car with smashed window
Michael Livermore
Assistant Vice President – Personal Lines Claims
25 de marzo de 2024
Encuentra Tu Seguro

Finding your car defaced with scratches, dents, or worse can be a gut-wrenching experience. It's a violation of your personal property, and the anger and frustration are understandable. But before you let those emotions take over, take a deep breath and follow these tips to ensure you handle the situation the right way.

1. Assess the scene

If you’ve discovered your car’s been vandalized, remain calm. Review the scene safely and remember to follow these initial steps:

  • Prioritize your safety: Before doing anything else, make sure you're in a safe environment. If you discovered the vandalism in a deserted parking lot at night, don't approach the vehicle alone. Wait until daylight or find a well-lit area with other people around. If there's any immediate danger, like broken glass or exposed wires, call the police or emergency services right away.

  • Document the damage: Take detailed pictures and videos of the vandalism from various angles. Get close-ups of any major damage and wider shots to show the overall extent. Don't touch or clean anything, as this could disturb potential evidence.

  • Secure the vehicle: If windows were broken or doors damaged, take steps to secure your car to prevent further damage or theft. Cover broken windows with cardboard or plastic, and if necessary, move the car to a safe location like a garage or a well-lit, locked parking area after you’ve taken photos and documented all damage.

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2. Contact the authorities

Vandalism is a crime, and filing a police report is a crucial step. This not only helps document the incident for potential legal action but is often required by your insurance company to process a claim.

  • Call the police: Explain the situation and request an officer be dispatched to the scene.

  • Provide details: Be prepared to provide the investigating officer with a description of the damage, any witnesses you might have seen, and the location and approximate time of the incident.

  • Get a copy of the report: The police report will include the investigating officer’s notes, a summary of the information you provided, and an incident number. Your insurer will use the report to manage your claim.

  • Don't post about the incident on social media. This could compromise the police investigation and your insurance claim.

3. Notify your insurance company

As soon as possible, call your insurance company and inform them about the vandalism. They will guide you through the claims process and explain what information and documentation they need.

Remember, you're not alone in this. Your insurance company is there to help you through this process and get your car back in good shape.

4. Arrange for repairs

Removing and repairing the vandalism to your car as soon as possible can help you put the incident behind you—and reduce the time needed to rent or borrow a car. Don't try to fix the damage yourself. Leave that to the professionals.

Here are some tips to help you with the repair process:

  • Contact your insurance company to see if they recommend a specific repair shop in your area. If not, seek out recommendations and reviews from friends and locals.

  • Request a detailed estimate from the selected repair shop before they begin their repairs.

  • Keep all receipts and documentation related to the repairs. This includes parts replaced, labor costs, and any additional charges.

  • Maintain open communication with the repair shop and your insurance company throughout the repair process.

Tips to help prevent vehicle vandalism

While there's no foolproof way to fully eliminate the threat of vandalism, taking proactive measures—and being vigilant with them—can help you reduce the risk of these incidents and keep your vehicle looking its best.

  • Consider investing in security features such as alarm systems, steering wheel locks, or tracking devices.

  • Install security cameras in your parking area to act as both a deterrent and a potential source of evidence.

  • Choose well-lit and populated parking spaces. If possible, park in secure garages.

  • Stay informed about any recent incidents of vandalism in your area, and respond accordingly.

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Know your coverage: Car vandalism and comprehensive insurance

Car vandalism is typically covered under comprehensive auto insurance. However, the specifics of your policy, including deductibles and potential exclusions, can vary. Taking the time to review your policy details and understand any limitations related to vandalism will help ensure you're prepared if the unexpected occurs.

If you have questions about your Dairyland® car insurance policy or the claims process, our knowledgeable customer service representatives can help. Call 866-448-0872 for assistance.

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