People don’t usually think about car break-ins… until it happens to them. It’s hard to know what to do first when you come back to your vehicle to find a broken window and stolen belongings. But it’s important to act quickly and follow the right steps to make sure you’re covered, so we’ve compiled a guide to tell you how to file a claim when your car has been broken into. In this article we’ll cover how to handle a call to the police, how to take care of your own safety, how to document the damage or theft, and how to file a claim.
How to React When Your Car Has Been Broken Into
Step 1: Call the police. It’s important to call the police immediately when you notice a break-in; you need to file a police report to record what occurred. You should ask for the report number and get a copy to give to your insurance company, because they will likely ask for it.
Step 2: Make sure the scene is safe. If the break-in occurred in an unsafe area or late at night, you should consider your personal safety before anything else. Watch out for broken glass and debris. Don’t risk your well-being to tend to your vehicle.
Step 3: Identify what was stolen. You will need to make a list of every item that was taken during the break-in. You should keep a detailed log of all items, and take the appropriate action to cancel any credit cards or cell phone plans.
You will have to provide this information to the police and to your insurance company when you file a claim. You might be asked to prove ownership of stolen items, so you can also make a note to look for receipts or warranties to demonstrate what items were taken.
Step 4: Take photos of the damage. Document any damage to your vehicle with photos as soon as possible. This evidence will help you when making a police report and filing a claim with your insurance company.
Timing is crucial because photos taken long after the break-in occurred or away from the scene of the crime won’t be considered in the same way.
Step 5: Contact your insurance provider. Soon after the incident, contact your insurance provider with all of the details and evidence that you have collected.
You will be able to get more information about your coverage and the steps necessary to proceed.
Damage to your vehicle will be covered under your comprehensive coverage plan. For stolen items that are not part of your car (like cell phones or laptops), you can file a claim with your homeowners or renters insurance.
Step 6: Get your vehicle repaired. After communicating with your insurance provider you will be able to make the necessary repairs to your vehicle. Don’t wait too long to repair the damage, because you don’t want your car to be a vulnerable target for another break-in.
Once the repairs have been made, take extra caution to protect your car going forward. Car break-ins are a scary part of vehicle ownership. Protect yourself as much as possible, but also be prepared in the event that a break-in does happen. Park in well-lit areas, and don’t leave any belongings or valuables where they are visible from outside of your car.