Car vandalism is costly to repair, and the sudden loss of your car can be devastating. Consider these ways you can prepare yourself for the worst while doing what you can to avoid car vandalism.
Why The First Step is Filing a Police Report
Most insurance companies require you to file a police report to be reimbursed for vandalism claims. As soon as you notice that your car has been vandalized, call the police right away before you do anything else. Don't touch the car or alter the scene in any way until after the police arrive and give you the go-ahead to move the vehicle.
If you notice your car has been stolen, also call the police immediately. As you wait for police to arrive, make notes about anything you remember about the last time you saw your car. Be as specific as possible in recording your observations about whether you locked your car and what your surroundings were like when you parked the car.
Some things that you need to report will likely include:
- The day and time you think the incident likely occurred
- The exact location where your car was parked
- Details of any similar crimes you experienced before
- The full extent of the damage done to your vehicle
- The likely identity of the vandal (if known or suspected)
- Take photos of your car; the police may also take photographs. Also, be as thorough as possible when reporting car vandalism. The more detailed the report, the better. Details make it easier for prosecutors to pursue the criminal and help your insurance company best assist you. Also be sure to get the police report number to give to your insurance agent.
What Will Happen After the Vandalism
If your car has been damaged, you don't have to just resign yourself to the bad news. You may be able to press criminal charges against the perpetrator. More specifically, criminal charges can be filed in Denver on behalf of "the People of the State of Colorado," according to the District Attorney's office.
The decision about whether criminal charges will be filed and prosecuted will be decided by the District Attorney. That decision is usually made within three days of the person's arrest.
If the damage to your car is small and the repair costs are under $500, the criminal may be charged with a misdemeanor. If it's extensive, they may be charged with a felony. The vandal may have to pay a fine and also spend time in jail, or they may face one of the two consequences.
How a Claims Adjuster Can Help After You File the Police Report
As soon as you file the police report, contact your insurance company. You will likely then be connected with a claims adjuster. Vandalism may be covered under car insurance policy's comprehensive coverage. Unfortunately, fraud and false claims are a reality for insurance companies, so you may be asked a variety of questions about your claim.
Give the claims adjuster a copy of the police report or the police report number. Provide any additional details they may need to know. Give them the photos you took of the car after the vandalism. Also, if you happen to have any recent pictures of how your car looked before the vandalism, you may give those to the adjuster, too.
Your car insurance company may notify you that they cover a car rental if your car has been stolen or is too damaged to comfortably drive. If you are covered, call local car rental companies to get an idea of the daily rate, then contact your insurance company directly to get the process started so you don't have to do without a car during this frustrating time.
Why You Should Feel Confident Filing a Claim
Some drivers get automobile insurance because it's required by law. They may try to keep their premiums as low as possible, so they don't always file reports when incidents occur. That's a mistake if your car is vandalized. If you have filed a lot of claims under your insurance policy, your premium may go up, but otherwise it likely won't have an impact on your monthly payments.
How to Prevent Car Vandalism
Although you shouldn't blame yourself for damage to your car, take a step back to assess whether there is anything you can do to prevent damage to your car in the future. Always park your car in a well-lit area. If you have a garage, use it, and always lock your garage. Invest in additional security devices like a steering wheel lock or car tracking device. Also consider a car immobilizing device.
Car vandalism is still a significant crime in Denver, and you can lose your car and financial stability if you are uninsured. Contact the caring team at L.A. Insurance today to discuss how you can best protect your car from vandalism and other dangers.