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Car vandalism in the U.S. has become a major problem. In fact, it accounts for millions of dollars in insurance claims paid each year. It’s easy for someone who hasn’t had their car vandalized to say it isn’t a big deal. But if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of it, you know how much of a headache it can be.
Damage to your car can also occur because of a simple accident. For example, car washes are notorious for causing damage, especially to exterior elements that jut out of your vehicle, like antennas. Your antenna could also snap when you’re on the highway. You might even accidentally cause damage to exterior elements while cleaning and maintaining your vehicle.
Regardless of how it happens, something as simple as the removal of a car antenna or hood ornament might seem small to some, but missing these elements makes time spent in your vehicle less enjoyable. Missing car antenna makes it hard to listen to the radio and a stolen hood ornament can lessen the value of your classic car (for instance, if you’re a proud owner of a 1987 Cadillac Deville, you know your hood ornament is the cherry on top of your vehicle and it just wouldn’t have the same pizzazz without it!).
The bigger question is: Does a section of your car insurance cover the loss of an antenna or hood ornament? Most importantly, what steps can you take to avoid vandalism in the first place?
Does Car Insurance Cover Snapped Antennas or Hood Ornaments?
Any time your car is purposely damaged by someone else, it’s considered vandalism. Unfortunately, liability insurance won’t cover this type of damage to your vehicle, let alone if you end up accidentally causing the damage yourself. If you have comprehensive coverage on your car, on the other hand, chances are the damage will be covered after you make a vandalism claim.
The biggest drawback to comprehensive coverage, though, is the deductible you have to pay before your insurance kicks in. And while a section of your comprehensive coverage will cover a snapped antenna or a missing or damaged hood ornament, in many cases, it’s best to pay for the repair out of pocket.
In cases of vandalism, you should always contact the police, as this can help them find the perpetrator. And, who knows, if the case goes to court, the police report could be the key to getting your damages covered by the culprit.
What to Do if Your Car Is Vandalized
If your car is vandalized, you should take specific steps to help when filing an insurance claim or in getting compensation from the vandal in court. These simple steps will help:
Document the damage: The first thing you should do is document any damage to your car. Examine every section of your vehicle (sides, hood, trunk, etc.). The missing ornament or snapped antenna might be the most obvious damage, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only damage. Take pictures and videos and get the name and phone number of any witnesses. You should also write down the extent of the damage and the time and place that it happened.
Call the police: Next, call the police. Make sure that the police have a chance to look at your vehicle and give you the OK before touching the vehicle. Touching your vehicle before the police have had a chance to do their investigation could inadvertently destroy evidence. The police will also file a report, something you’ll need when filing a claim with your insurance company.
Contact your insurer: Once the police have finished looking over your car, call your insurance company. The agent will ask what happened and assign an auditor to inspect the vehicle. Only after the auditor has finished their investigation will the insurance company issue a check for the damage (after you pay your deductible, of course).
Get your vehicle repaired: At this point, you should find a reputable repair shop to fix the damage to your vehicle. In many cases, you’ll give the check that the insurance company gives to you to the repair shop. That means, you’ll be back on the road with all your vehicle’s components intact and functioning in no time.