You feel it in the pit of your stomach as soon as you spot the telltale signs: a shattered window and your car’s contents scattered everywhere—minus whatever the thieves took.
A car break-in is a traumatic invasion of privacy that comes with the added pain of losing your valuables. Luckily, there are steps you can take to bounce back—particularly when you have comprehensive coverage. Whether you have comprehensive coverage or just the legally required auto insurance for your state, here is what to do when your car is broken into.
7 Steps to Follow After Your Car Is Broken Into
1. Ensure Your Safety
First things first: make sure you, and anyone with you, are not in danger. Criminals like to work fast and get away faster, but unwitting property owners may sometimes happen upon crimes in progress. Ensure you’re not one of them.
2. Contact the Police
Even if the scene appears safe, contact the police. If your phone was one of the items stolen, find the nearest place from which to call them safely. Even though there may be personal items you wish to gather up, fight the urge to do so until the police arrive.
3. Document the Incident
Responding police officers will document the scene. If you can, however, take photos and notes yourself. In such situations, more information is better than less.
This process will also allow you to note what was taken, which will inform your next step(s). Keep in mind that items stolen out of your car, like your phone or backpack, are not covered by auto insurance. Renters insurance or homeowners insurance, however, may sometimes cover your possessions if they’re stolen out of your vehicle while you’re traveling.
4. Protect Your Identity
If the thieves made off with items such as identification and credit cards, notify the relevant companies immediately. For example, cancel all of your credit and debit cards.
In the following months, make sure to keep an eye on your credit score to check if anyone has attempted to open new credit lines in your name.
5. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Inform your auto and/or renters insurance provider of the incident. Your insurance company will share with you the information they’ll need to submit your claim. For example, if your policy covers lost or stolen property, they may need the police report and an inventory of what was taken. A car break-in is just one of many instances where comprehensive coverage comes in handy. It can help pay for repairs or replacement if your car is vandalized or damaged during the incident.
6. Repair the Damage
Depending on how the thieves accessed your vehicle, you may need windshield repairs, auto body work, or even a new car door handle. If you’re paying to repair the damage on your own, look online for a body shop or collision center with high ratings and reviews. Otherwise, your insurance company will likely provide you with a list of approved shops to choose from.
Bonus Tip: A break-in isn’t the only car-related crime that can happen. Hit and runs are also an unfortunate fact of car life. To be prepared in the unfortunate event of a hit and run, collision coverage and/or uninsured motorist coverage is recommended.
7. Prepare for the Future
No one deserves to get robbed; that’s why it’s a crime. There are, however, best practices to help prevent car-break ins.
- Never leave valuables in sight when you leave the car.
- Park in well-lit areas, even if it means walking a little farther to your destination.
- Lock all car doors, even if you’re running into a shop for “a quick minute.”
One More Proactive Measure
While there’s no such thing as “car broken into insurance,” there is a type of car insurance coverage that could help protect you if your car is damaged during a break-in—but this coverage will only come in handy if you get it before a break-in. Get what you need today when you call, click, or visit your local Direct Auto Insurance.