If someone breaks into your car, comprehensive auto insurance can cover damage that results from the break-in. It won't cover any belongings stolen from the car, though. Your home or renters insurance takes care of personal property loss.

Filing a claim for break-in theft or vandalism often depends on whether you can afford to pay for the damage or losses on your own, which can help you avoid a rate increase. Even if nothing was stolen or damaged in the break-in, you should file a police report. You'll need it to file a claim

We'll cover:

Does car insurance cover a break-in?

Comprehensive car insurance covers damage to your car caused by a break-in, up to your policy limit. This includes broken windows and locks. Comprehensive coverage usually does not cover these parts of the car:

  • Windshield wipers
  • Tires
  • Brakes

Comprehensive coverage pays out for the replacement of your car if it is broken into and stolen. However, it does not cover the loss of any belongings stolen from your car. Homeowners or renters insurance would cover your stolen possessions.

If you file a claim on your comprehensive auto, home or renters insurance after a break-in, know that it will probably result in a rate increase. For this reason, it's a good idea to pay for any damage or theft after a break-in out of pocket if the loss amount is something you can afford. A car insurance claim stays on your insurance history for up to seven years. You may pay a higher rate the entire time, meaning you could pay much more over time in higher rates than the loss amount. Also, if the loss amount is less than your policy deductible, your claim will be denied and you may still see a rate increase.

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What to do if someone breaks into your car

Here are the steps to take if your car is broken into:

  • Document the damage
  • Inventory stolen belongings
  • File a report with the police
  • Freeze necessary accounts
  • File a claim
  • Get repairs done

Document the break-in

Take pictures of all parts of your car damaged in the break-in. Try not to move anything until you're sure the police or an adjuster no longer need to examine the car. This will help when you file a police report or an insurance claim.

Make a list of stolen items

If your car is only vandalized and nothing was stolen, consider this the best-case scenario. If anything is missing, make a list of what was stolen for the police report and the renters or homeowners insurance claim.

File a police report

Contact the police as soon as you finish the top two steps. If you are not in danger, use the non-emergency number. An officer may be dispatched to take your report, but you night need to go down to the nearest precinct station to file the report in person. To file a report you will need:

  • Your driver's license
  • Photos of the damage
  • A list of any stolen property
  • Your insurance card

Contact credit card companies

If any of your credit cards were stolen from your car, contact your providers immediately to freeze those accounts. Set up a fraud alert as well. Identity theft is a common crime, and you should take steps to keep it from affecting you as much as possible.

File an insurance claim

If the damage and property loss are out of the range of what you could easily pay out of pocket, you'll want to file an insurance claim. For damage to your car, contact your comprehensive auto insurance provider. For any property loss due to theft, contact your renters or homeowners insurance company. A lot of the information you needed for the police report will probably be needed to file the claim as well, so have it handy.

Repair your car

Contact a licensed automotive repair shop to fix the break-in damage. Make sure to save all receipts and other documentation regarding the repair. You will need it for any insurance claims you file.

What if my car was vandalized?

If nothing was taken from the car, but your car was damaged in the break-in, follow these steps:

  • Document and take photos of the damage
  • File a police report for the vandalism
  • File an insurance claim, if necessary
  • Fix your car

Even if there was no damage to your car after the break-in, you should file a police report. The break-in could be part of a larger problem in your neighborhood. Also, crime rates in your area contribute to higher home or auto insurance rates, so anything you can do to keep that down is in your best interest.


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