Finding your car broken into and damaged can be like getting sucker punched. It knocks the wind out of you. You ask yourself why and how and could you have done anything to prevent it.
We hope it never happens to you, but if your car gets broken into or vandalized, here’s what to do to make a full recovery.
Finding your car broken into and damaged is stressful and maddening. It’s important to stay calm so you can do what needs to be done to keep this moment from becoming an even bigger disaster. Look around to make sure no one is around to threaten or hurt you. If neighbors’ vehicles have been broken into, knock on their doors to let them know, as long as it’s safe for you to do.
Go ahead and call the police while you’re assessing the damage.
Take pictures and record video of your car, the damage, and where you are. Also, make an inventory list of everything that was damaged or stolen. This information will be needed by both the police officer for the report and your insurance company.
File the Police Report
Based on your conversation with the police officer, they may come to you or they may ask you to come to the station. If they’re headed your way, don’t move your vehicle until after they’ve arrived and told you it’s okay. If they want you to go to the station, ask if you should leave your vehicle parked or not.
When you file the report, make sure you have this information with you:
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle’s registration
- Insurance ID card
- Photos of the damage
- Inventory list of what was stolen and/or damaged
Contact Financial Institutions
This step is only required if anything with your name, address, or other personal information was taken or if your wallet, debit card, credit card, or other bank information was taken. You need to add a fraud alert to your credit record in case the thief tries to open new accounts. You also need your bank accounts frozen so they can’t take or spend your money. Your bank will issue new cards and help protect your account.
File an Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim may come in two parts, and it may not be the best option for everyone. If you suffered $500 worth of damage, but have a $1,000 deductible, you won’t receive anything in a claim. But if the damage is large enough or your deductible is small enough, it’s time to call your insurance company.
Homeowners insurance or renters insurance will cover personal property in your vehicle that isn’t part of the car itself. So yes, the theft of your smartphone and laptop may be covered. No, your damaged or missing car stereo won’t be covered.
Auto insurance will cover the damage to your car as long as you have comprehensive coverage. Without this, you’re on your own to fix whatever was broken.
Get Your Car Fixed
Once you’ve called the police and talked to your insurance company, it’s time to fix your vehicle and replace what was lost. Your insurance adjuster will let you know what is available to you through your auto insurance claim. Follow their instructions and timeline to make sure you receive the full amount of your claim. But don’t put off fixing your vehicle as unfixed damage can lead to more damage over time.
If your vehicle is broken into or vandalized, contact Charlotte Insurance. We’ll help you navigate the claims process for any insurer we work with. You don’t have to go through this alone. We can help.