So Your Car Has Been Vandalized. Now What?
Whether you’ve recently found yourself in a “Before He Cheats” situation, or whether a random act results in damage to your car, automotive vandalism can be a serious headache. But if you have the right type of insurance, you may be protected from paying for those expenses out-of-pocket. Below, we’ll explain how to handle a vandalism claim with your insurance company so that you can save as much money as possible on both your repairs and your monthly insurance premiums.
What to Do If You Need to File a Claim
If you need to file a vandalism claim for damages to your vehicle, there are certain steps you need to take, and in a specific order, in order to make sure the claims process goes as smoothly as possible. Be sure to use the following checklist as a guide the moment you notice any damage:
- Call the police, and file a police report with the responding officer or with your local precinct
- Call your insurance company, let them know what happened, and let them know that you plan on filing a claim
- Be sure to speak to your claims adjuster as soon as possible once your claim has been assigned to someone
- If you can afford to, take your vehicle in for repairs as soon as possible; your insurance company will reimburse you later if your claim is honored. If you cannot afford to, be sure to talk with your insurance company about upfront costs and temporary transportation while your vehicle is getting repaired
It is painfully easy for your insurance company to deny your claim if any of the steps above are done out of order, or not at all. When it comes to filing a claim with your insurance company, it’s in your best interest to be proactive, to gather as much evidence as possible, and to stay on top of your insurance company. It may be tedious and time-consuming, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
How to Know If You Need to File a Claim
Although it’s tempting to let your insurance company take care of the repairs instead of paying for the cost yourself, it doesn’t always make financial sense to file a claim with your insurance agency. Usually, this is the case when the cost of repairs is either less than the cost of your deductible, or less than the cost of your deductible plus the extra money you will be paying in the foreseeable future for an increase in your monthly premiums.
In almost all cases, if you file a claim with your insurance company, they will start charging you higher rates the next time you renew your policy. Even if you switch companies the next time you renew, your history of filed claims will follow you, making you riskier to ensure and thus making your policy more expensive, regardless of whether you switch companies or stay with the same insurance agent.
Before you file your claim, make sure to do a cost-benefit analysis of how much it will cost you to get your vehicle fixed now, versus how much you’ll be paying in the future for your higher premiums. If the immediate cost is cheaper then your future premium increases and manageable for you at the present time, then foregoing a claim is your best bet. Otherwise, go ahead and file – just understand the financial consequences of that choice before you start the claims process.
Comprehensive Coverage and Vandalism
Be advised that not all forms of car insurance will cover you and your vehicle in the event that it is damaged by an act of vandalism. In order to file a vandalism claim, you have to have comprehensive coverage on your policy first. If your insurance policy does not include this important coverage, you will be 100% responsible for the out-of-pocket costs associated with your vehicle repairs.
The difference in price between liability only and a full coverage policy may seem a little extreme at first; but if your car is damaged or totaled due to vandalism, it can pay for itself in the long run. Also, keep in mind that comprehensive coverage does not just cover vandalism. It can also cover random acts of nature, like fire, hail, or flood damage. I can also protect you in the event that your car is stolen, if personal belongings are stolen from your vehicle, or if parts and electrical equipment (such as an expensive car stereo or expensive engine components) are forcibly removed without your consent. Furthermore, you can reduce the potential costs of your comprehensive coverage by raising your deductible. Because you are taking on a bigger financial risk, your insurance company will reward you with lower premiums
If you’ve tried raising your deductible in order to squeeze some comprehensive coverage onto your policy, and it is still prohibitively expensive, then it may be time to shop around for a new insurance company. If you type your ZIP code into the quote generator on this page, we can help you find the best deal in your area. Let us help you save money on your comprehensive coverage today.