What to do when your car is vandalized

It's one of the most infuriating things that can happen to a car owner. You might be a careful driver, but whether the car is parked on the street, in a driveway or in a garage, it can be vulnerable to vandalism. And if you've parked somewhere away from home, your car may be even more likely to get keyed, broken into or bashed.

From broken windows to gouges and scrapes, there are some things that owners can do after their cars have been vandalized. One of the first is to check your insurance policy.
Auto insurance coverage called comprehensive insurance covers vandalism of vehicles. This is a separate component from collision coverage, which covers damages from accidents. Neither collision nor comprehensive coverage is covered under state-imposed minimum liability insurance, so your policy won't cover vandalism unless you purchase comprehensive coverage. Lenders often will require comprehensive coverage if a vehicle is still being paid off, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Comprehensive coverage can differ based on the value and desirability of the vehicle and the ZIP code where it primarily is kept. Not every comprehensive policy is the same, so check with your auto insurance provider to see whether vandalism damage is covered in an existing policy.
Besides checking your comprehensive insurance coverage and crossing your fingers, there are other things you should do if your vehicle is vandalized:
  • Obtain a police report. This often is required if you have coverage, according to Progressive Insurance. Even if you don't, it helps you become eligible for recovering the costs if the vandals are found.
  • Take pictures. In any case or claim, you'll need evidence that the vandalism happened. Taking pictures soon afterward helps prove the extent of the damages. Keep your photos on file in case you need them when seeking compensation.
  • Take common-sense protection steps. One of the first steps is to remove the vehicle, if possible, from the place where the vandalism occurred. Otherwise, the scene of the crime could become a scene of violence if the vandals return.
  • Cover any broken windows to prevent rain from causing even more damage. If you knowingly leave a broken window uncovered, further damages may not be covered, according to Progressive.
  • Find receipts for stolen items. If you're going to file a claim under your comprehensive coverage, you may need to show receipts for goods that were stolen or damaged in the vandalism, according to Progressive.

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