You’re walking out to your car after a fun shopping trip with some friends and then you see it – someone has just vandalized your car! Your heart sinks as the reality sets in that someone has just intentionally caused damage to your vehicle. Quickly, your eyes scan the parking lot wondering if the perpetrator is still on the scene. Hearing the crunch of glass shards beneath your feet as you cautiously approach your vehicle, you can only think to yourself, “Does car insurance cover vandalism?” The answer depends on the coverage you have selected on your insurance policy.
Unfortunately, purposeful destruction or damage to property takes place in just about every community. Knowing how to proceed after discovering your car has been vandalized is important. We’ll consider two main questions regarding insurance coverage for this kind of damage:
- Can you make a claim?
- Is it worth making a claim?
Knowing the coverage you have in force, the amount of your deductible, and the amount of damage to your vehicle will help determine your answers to these questions.
Your Car Has Been Vandalized, Can You Make a Claim?
First, you will need to determine if your insurance policy will cover damage to your automobile as a result of vandalism. Comprehensive coverage will be needed in order to proceed with a claim after someone intentionally damages your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance will generally provide protection for damage to your auto caused by disasters such as fires and hail storms, and it will also cover vandalism.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), 77% of drivers had comprehensive coverage on their auto policies in addition to the required liability coverage. If you pay for comprehensive on your insurance policy in New Jersey, then you at least have the option to proceed with a claim.
Keep in mind that most insurance companies will require a police report with this kind of claim, so it’s best to take pictures and dial the number for the local police department as your initial response. Before you proceed with an insurance claim, knowing the cost to repair the damage in comparison with the amount of your deductible is also an important step.
Is It Worth Making a Claim After Your Vehicle Has Been Vandalized?
If your insurance policy does, in fact, include comprehensive coverage, which generally covers a vandalism claim, it’s time to consider two additional things in order to determine how to proceed. The first thing you need to think about is your deductible. Most insurance policies will have a deductible in place for comprehensive (or collision) claims of any nature. The deductible is the initial amount of money you will need to pay out of pocket before your insurance carrier covers the remainder of the cost to repair or replace your auto.
The other thing to consider is the amount of damage that has been done. Let’s just say, for example, that your deductible is $500. If the damage consists of a minor scratch resulting in damage that is less than $500, then it’s probably better to cover the damage cost yourself. However, if you have sustained severe damage resulting in considerably higher costs than your $500 deductible, then it makes more sense to pick up the phone to start the claim process with your insurance company.
Quick Tips to Help Prevent Auto Vandalism
It may sound obvious, but if you have a garage, it’s best to park inside. A lot of auto vandalism takes place on personal residences. If you’re leaving your vehicle in a public area at night, you’ll want to find a space that is well-lit to help deter a would-be vandal. An extra plus is that parking in the garage may positively impact your rate. Car alarms are still an effective way to fend off a thief or vandal and other anti-theft devices can help provide additional protection.
If you have questions about car insurance and vandalism, we’re here to help! A Plymouth Rock representative would be happy to answer your questions and help you determine the coverage options and discounts that are best for you.