After an outing with friends or homecoming from a well-deserved vacation, nothing can be more upsetting than returning to your vehicle that has been damaged by vandals. One of your first reactions might be to call your mechanic for repairs. However, if you are thinking about filing a vandalism claim for the damages, there are several steps to ensure that your claim is paid out. Let’s breakdown how to submit a vandalism insurance claim for your vehicle.
Before you make a vandalism claim
Does filing a claim make sense?
Before discussing filing a claim with your insurer, it is important to determine whether or not making a claim is the best course of action. Even if you do have comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance policy, you’ll probably have to pay a deductible before you’re reimbursed any money.
Firstly, you should take your car to a reputable body shop to get an estimate of how much the repairs will cost.
- If the repair costs don’t substantially exceed your deductible, and you haven’t already paid money towards your deductible in another claim filed this year, paying for the repairs yourself might make more sense.
- If you do choose to file a claim, your insurance company will often send an insurance adjuster out to assess the damage and recommend an auto body shop where you can have your repairs done.
To learn more about the cost of vandalism, please click here.
Submit a vandalism claim
1. Document the damage
Before you clean up any paint or broken glass, photograph/video tape all damage done to your car. This documentation may be required to file a police report, and it will help you defend your claim with your insurance company. You can do this by taking photos from all angles of the damaged portion of the vehicle.
2. Make a list of stolen items
Run through everything you had in your vehicle and make a list of anything that is missing. This may include personal documents you might have stored in the car’s glove compartment. Make notes of as many details as possible, such as where the car was parked, and if you can estimate when the damage was done.
Important: Submit this list when you file your police report and homeowners or renters insurance claim. If any sensitive documents were stolen, such as those that list details for a bank account or credit card, consider setting up a fraud alert with the credit bureaus and freezing your credit card and bank accounts.
3. Look for witnesses
Check if there was anyone in your area that may have witnessed the damage being done. Regularly, there are multiple incidents of vandalism in an area over the same time period. Additionally, you can check if any of your neighbours or businesses nearby have security cameras that may have footage of the vandals. Any information will be helpful to the authorities.
4. File a police report
Vandals often target multiple cars in an area, stealing property and causing a significant amount of damage. Your local police department may need to know about your case in order to investigate a broader crime. Sharing your information with police may help solve multiple crimes.
What your insurer needs to know
Your insurance company will usually require a police report in order to process any claim you file. You can obtain a police report in the following ways:
- Call the police and inquire if they’ll come assess the damage
- You’ll need to file a report at a local station
- Have the police report submitted over the phone
Prior to contacting the police to submit a vandalism claim, it is important that you have all the necessary information:
- Photographs of the damage
- Your driver’s licence
- Your vehicle’s registration information
- Your insurance card or policy declaration page
- The approximate date and time of the theft or vandalism
- A detailed list of any property that was stolen
What is the cost of a vandalism claim?
One of the biggest client concerns that comes with filing vehicle insurance claims is will it increase their insurance premiums. Every insurance company is different – one may raise premiums over a claim when another one doesn’t. In many cases, if you are not at-fault, it may not create an increase in premiums. Market conditions influence premiums, as well. These conditions are factors that can continually change and influence the cost of auto insurance and the price you pay. FSRA is observing that four factors are driving up costs currently:
- Inflation: Premiums are affected by rising inflation and the effect it is having on the price of goods and services.
- Physical damage costs: Insurers adjust premiums based on the expected cost of covering future auto insurance claims.
- Drivers on the road: More cars on the road results in more collisions and higher claims costs.
- Auto theft: A pandemic-driven shortage of semiconductor chips needed for new cars has driven the increase in technology-fueled car theft. Over the past five years, the amount of theft claims increased by 40%.
Make sure to arrange to get the damage to your vehicle repaired according to any instructions given by your insurance company. If you intend to file a claim for the damages, remember that vandalism is only covered under comprehensive auto coverage. In addition, you’ll need to pay your deductible before you receive any reimbursement from your auto insurance company, and your insurer may increase your premiums for the next few years as a result of the claim.
Having your vehicle vandalized is a jarring experience. The impulse is to call your mechanic or dealership and take care of it as soon as possible. Keep in mind that if repairs cost significantly more than your policy’s deductible, making a claim will result in a possible rise in rates. If the damage is less than the deductible, it might be cheaper to take the financial hit up front and pay for the repairs out-of-pocket. Either way, we recommend getting quotes from a few auto body shops in order to compare rates and get the best deal – preferably repair shops recommended by your insurance company or isure representative. We hope that our article will assist you if you need to submit a vandalism claim now or in the future.