Somebody Stole or Vandalized My Car – What Do I Do?

Car thief

Somebody Stole or Damaged Your Car on Purpose:

If you have comprehensive coverage, you should be covered for the cost of repairs, or the cost of replacing your car, minus your deductible.

If your car’s been stolen:

  1. Call the police to report the theft.
  2. Call your insurance company to start a claim (if you have comprehensive coverage).

If valuables have been stolen from your car:

If valuables like golf clubs, laptops etc. are stolen from your car, this is usually covered by your home insurance contents policy, not your car insurance. However, if something that is part of the car like a stereo is stolen, that is covered by the comprehensive coverage that may be part of your auto policy. Damage done to windows or doors to get into your car is also covered by comprehensive.

  1. Call the police to report the theft.
  2. Try to determine what was taken and how much it is worth. Remember that everything loses value over time. Calculate depreciation. Based on the calculation and the amount of your deductible, decide whether you want to make a claim or absorb the cost yourself. (If you have a home claim and an auto claim, there will be two deductibles.)
  3. Take pictures that show how you found the car. (Show where the car was, if glass was broken, if your locks were forced open etc.) Also, gather receipts and photos of the items you lost. You will need them to make a claim.
  4. Call your home insurer, and possibly your car insurer, to start a claim (if you have comprehensive coverage).

If your car has minor vandalism damage (the car is drivable):

  1. Call the police to report the vandalism.
  2. Take pictures that show how you found the car. (Show where the car was, and get closeups of specific damage.) These will help with a claim.
  3. Take your car to a body shop and get an estimate.
  4. Decide whether you want to make a claim or absorb the cost yourself, based on the estimate and the amount of your deductible.
  5. Call your insurance company to start a claim (if you have comprehensive coverage).
Insurance tip

Did You Know?

Most policies won’t replace your stolen car with a brand new car. They will pay you the current market value of the car at the time it was stolen. You can usually pay a little extra for replacement cost coverage, which means if your car is stolen or completely destroyed, insurance will pay you whatever you paid for the car when you bought it.

If your car has major vandalism damage (the car is not drivable):

  1. Don’t try to drive your car if you’re not sure if it’s drivable.
  2. Call the police to report the vandalism.
  3. Take pictures that show how you found the car. (Show where the car was, and get closeups of specific damage.) These will help with a claim.
  4. Call your insurance company to start a claim (if you have comprehensive coverage).
  5. Call a tow truck to take your car to a body shop.
Insurance tip

Quick tip: Should I make a claim?

If your car suffers damage that wasn’t your fault, whether in a collision or due to weather, fire or vandalism, you may think that making a claim won’t affect your future premiums, but it can.

By law, insurance companies can only increase your auto insurance premiums if you make a claim related to an accident that was your fault, but if you make other kinds of claims, your insurer can take away your claims-free discount, increase your deductible, limit your future coverage, or if you make multiple claims in a short period, they can even refuse to renew you.

Whenever your car is damaged, try to determine, based on the repair estimate and your deductible, if it’s worth making a claim, or if you’re better off paying a few hundred dollars out of pocket to keep your claims record clean.

Who’s going to fix my car?

If your car is damaged, you get to decide who fixes it, and maybe you know somebody who does really good work for a reasonable price. Have them give you an estimate, and in most cases, your insurance company will pay the bill.

Preferred Vendors

If you don’t have a trusted body shop though, you might want to think about bringing your car to a shop that’s on your insurance company’s preferred list of vendors. These are some of the advantages:

  1. A quicker claim. If you need a rental car, the clock is ticking. Getting your claims settled and your car fixed fast will save you money.
  2. The price is the price. The insurance company could disagree with your body shop’s estimate. That won’t happen with a preferred shop.
  3. The repairs are guaranteed. If something fails later, the insurance company will pay to fix it.

Call us first: If you get in an accident during business hours, your M&W team can help you navigate the claims process, and even advocate for you with the insurance company. After hours, you should call your insurer directly.


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