You’ve most likely been a victim of car damage or perhaps witnessed such a crime in progress and wondered if car insurance covers vandalism. Differentiating between distinct acts of vandalism and the role of auto insurance in such cases is vital when filing a claim.
What constitutes vehicular vandalism?
In property crime, vandalism is an offense that occurs when a person’s assets are destroyed. Often there is no physical threat against an individual, but such actions have dire repercussions from a financial and safety standpoint.
Car vandalism is when somebody deliberately defaces, damages, or destroys another person’s vehicle, including through the following actions:
- Egging someone’s car
- Using spray cans to paint graffiti on a vehicle
- Smashing car windows, taillights, and headlights
- Pouring sand, sugar, or other substances inside the gas tank
- Making superficial scratches that can be buffed off or painted over
- Slashing car tires to render it inoperable and needing to be towed
Also referred to as malicious damage, a car vandalism claim is treated differently by the police and insurance companies.
Will your insurer cover car vandalism?
Your auto insurance will cover vandalism if you have a comprehensive policy. Since car vandalism is intentional damage to your vehicle and is out of your control, auto insurance covers vandalism, minus any deductibles, according to Erie Insurance.
While comprehensive coverage is optional, it’s considered a full-coverage policy that may save you thousands of dollars if your vehicle is seriously vandalized. If the costs to repair defacement on your car exceeds your auto policy’s full-scale deductibles, you can file a claim.
According to Investopedia, if you haven’t taken out comprehensive auto insurance as part of your coverage, damage incurred from vandalism may not be compensated. If you’re unsure if you have comprehensive coverage, check your car insurance declarations page, which is attached to the front of your auto policy.
Even if the damage wasn’t your fault, filing a vandalism car insurance claim can potentially hike your auto insurance rate. While not all claims trigger a rate increase, comprehensive claims, which include car vandalism, generate a small percentage depending on where you live and different insurance regulations in your state.
Instead of filing a small-ticket claim, use your insurance policy to settle fees that you otherwise wouldn’t pay out-of-pocket as a strategy to increase your deductible and save on premiums.
If there’s vandalism to your luxury car, take the following steps to help with filing a claim for the damages:
- Document the damages in detail
- Talk to onlookers and take their contact details
- Contact the police department and file a report
- Call your car insurance provider and notify them of the damage immediately
- Save the receipts and documentation issued from repairing the vandalism damages
How to protect your vehicle from vandalism
Even if your vehicle is equipped with the latest anti-theft system and your insurance covers car vandalism, taking precautions is necessary to lower your chances of being a statistic. To protect your car from vandalism, don’t leave valuables like phones, laptops, or other electronics in plain sight, tempting thieves to break in.
While parking in an enclosed lot or garage may lower the chance of vandalism, always lock your car. You can also enhance your vehicle’s security by installing an alarm, GPS tracker, and a security camera to catch vandals, as seen in this YouTube video of people keying Tesla cars.
Use valet parking if you can’t find well-lit parking spaces or areas with high foot traffic where passersby can see vandalism in action and deter it. Your vehicle will not only be parked in a safe place with increased security, but you can go about your day worrying less about ‘accidental’ damages.
Even though a car vandalism crime may not physically harm you, it still feels like a violation of your safety. Contact your insurance agent to clarify the specifics of your comprehensive auto coverage policy.