The scenario goes something like this: you walk over to your car and find that the door has either been forced open or that your window is broken. You immediately start to feel a sinking in your stomach as you realize that your car was broken into. Not only do you start to feel panic, but you also start to feel anger. But if you ever find yourself in this situation, you need to try and keep calm and do the following.
Assess the damage.
The first thing you need to do is assess the damage. Look around the car to see what was broken or damaged, and then look inside the car and note anything that has been stolen. If possible, you’ll also want to take pictures of the damage done to your car so that you have a record of it to show both the police and your insurance company.
Call the police.
Whether or not you’re going to file a claim with your insurance company, you should still always file a police report about the break in. Not only does this provide validation to the break in just in case you decide to claim it with your insurance, but this also lets the police know to be on the lookout for car thieves. Plus, if they do make any arrests, they can be on the lookout for the items that have gone missing from your vehicle.
Filing a police report does not cost you any money or put you in any harm. A police officer will come to you and take down all of your information. You will also be given a copy of the report to use for your insurance.
Check your insurance policy.
Before you call your insurance provider and make a claim, you should first check your policy to see what’s covered. It’s possible that you are not covered for break ins. Also, if you have a very high deductible, and the damage done to your car would not come close to that amount, there’s really no point in making a claim, as you’ll end up saving money by having the repairs fixed yourself. Plus, making a claim on your car will increase your policy, making it more expensive for you in the long run.
File a claim.
If the damage is significant, then you will want to file a claim with your insurance agency. Call your insurance provider and follow their instructions. They will ask you to provide them with specific information, including a copy of the police report and they may even require you to send in the pictures you took.
Each insurance provider has their own process, so they may have an adjustor come out to look at the damage to see how they should go about fixing the damage, or they may just send you to a body shop and have you receive quotes. You’ll need to pay attention to what your insurance company requires of you to get the claim process started.
Remember to take precautions.
Having your car broken into can have you questioning the safety of yourself and your car in the future. Unfortunately, locking your car doors or adding an alarm is not going to protect your car from thieves, as most criminals know how to get around these precautions. Instead, you can always opt to park your car in a garage instead of in the driveway or on the street. If a garage is not an option, try parking your car in a high traffic area that is well lit. This may not keep your car completely safe, but it will deter some criminals from breaking into your car again.
Joshua Reynolds is a father of two and works in Nissan sales. He enjoys writing about anything related to cars and driving safety in his spare time.