You strive to protect your car. It’s got a lot of value to you. However, it might not represent the same value and importance to someone else, and they might try to make a victim of both you and the vehicle. Some might deface or vandalize your car, for a variety of reasons. But the fact is, vandalism is costly, and unless you can catch the perpetrators, you might not be able to get restitution in any way except through your car insurance. That’s why you need coverage that protects against vandalism. Here is how you can get it.
Vehicle vandalism is something you want to avoid in as many cases as possible. However, there’s often only so much you can do to prevent it. In that case, it’s better to take a two-tiered approach, both in insuring yourself and protecting the car.
Why Vandalism Occurs
People vandalize cars, trucks, motorcycles or RVs for a variety of reasons.
- Some might do it in an effort to steal the car. For example, if someone smashes your window or picks your lock to try to get into the car, this might qualify as vandalism and property damage.
- Vandals sometime damage cars not to steal the whole vehicle, but to steal portions of the vehicle or its contents. For example, a vandal might damage the car when trying to steal a purse left on the front seat. Others might pry open the hood or trunk to steal the battery, engine components, cargo or even gasoline. Vandals might even steal the tires.
- Unfortunately, some vandals strike purely out of criminal or unfounded motives. A group of college students might damage your car after a party gets out of hand. Or, perhaps, someone who doesn’t like you might try to take their anger out on your car.
Regardless of the circumstances, vandalism is still criminal. Because you likely could do very little to prevent it, your insurer is likely to cover the damage—as long as you have the appropriate coverage.
Insurance for Vandalism
Most car insurance companies agree to pay for damage a car sustains from vandalism. If the vandalism totals the car, they can also agree to help you settle for the appropriate loss.
To receive coverage for vandalism, you will likely need comprehensive physical damage coverage included in your policy. This coverage applies to damage that your car sustains in accidents that aren’t related to collisions. Theft and vandalism usually fall among the hazards covered by such losses.
In most cases, car insurance policies cover the vandalism damage to your vehicle minus a certain deductible that you agree to pay out of pocket. Certain policies might exempt you from paying the deductible for certain damage, such as a shattered windshield.
If the vehicle is a total loss, then the insurer will provide you a settlement, likely for the car’s actual cash value. The car’s actual cash value is its value at the time the accident occurred, which is most-often a depreciated value—most cars lose value with age. If you want to receive a higher settlement, ask your insurer if you can get a replacement cost value (RCV) policy. RCV policies usually pay you enough money for the value of the car when it was new.
You never want to have to make a claim for vandalism on your car insurance. With the right steps, you can protect the vehicle. Always keep the car locked, and if possible, keep it parked in a garage. Otherwise, park in a well-lighted area, near to buildings. Don’t forget to never leave belongings on display inside the vehicle.
If vandalism does occur, immediately call the police to report the incident. They can take a report for your insurance company, and gather evidence on who the perpetrators might be. Then, you can call your insurer, who will gladly help you start a claim to fix the damage and get on your way.