Does Car Insurance Cover Vandalism?

Your car insurance policy covers vandalism only if you carry comprehensive coverage. Is your current covrage enough?

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Does car insurance cover vandalism?

In short, your car insurance company will cover vandalism damages if you carry comprehensive insurance. If you only carry the minimum amount of coverage required — liability insurance in most states — you will not be covered against damage resulting from vandalism. Read on to find out more about how car insurance companies handle vandalism and whether or not you have the right coverage. 

Car insurance and vandalism — table of contents
  1. How does vandalism coverage work?
  2. When to file a vandalism claim
  3. What does an insurance company consider to be vandalism?
  4. Vandalism and your car insurance: considerations

 


 

How does vandalism insurance coverage work?

The part of an auto insurance policy that covers vandalism is comprehensive coverage. Be aware, however, that comprehensive coverage isn’t a mandatory coverage (unless it is mandated by your lienholder or leasing agency). Comprehensive insurance is a type of physical damage coverage that covers your vehicle in non-collision circumstances. 

If you want to be covered against vandalism, you’ll want to make sure to carry this coverage. Start by checking your insurance policy’s declaration page or contacting your insurance agent if you are unsure about your current coverage.

Making a comprehensive claim

It can be shocking to realize your car has been vandalized. However, with the right insurance coverage, you can get your vehicle back to its original state. The process of filing a vandalism claim is really no different than a typical claim. If your car has been vandalized, consider the following steps:

Photograph the damage

Before you clean up broken glass or move your vehicle, make sure to take photographs from multiple angles to properly document the damage. Many insurance carriers have mobile apps that allow you to upload photos directly, getting the claims process started quickly.

File a police report 

While police may or may not arrive at the scene, it is important that you call your local police department to let them know about the damage to your vehicle and any property that may have been stolen. They’ll also require information such as your driver's license number, vehicle registration, and details about the time and location of the incident. 

Decide whether or not to file a car insurance claim

Upon filing a claim, you’ll be assigned a claims adjuster who will survey the damage. Unless the amount of damage is significant, it may not be worth filing an insurance claim, as this may be more costly in the long run. You will need to first pay a deductible. Learn more about vandalism claims below.

Get your vehicle fixed

Many insurance companies have a list of preferred repair shops with which they work. If your favorite auto body shop is not listed, you may want to contact your insurance agent to ensure that it’s eligible.

 


 

When to file a vandalism claim 

If your vehicle has sustained significant damage, filing a claim will probably be necessary. In some cases, however, filing an insurance claim may not be the best idea. If the damage to your vehicle is minimal, paying out of pocket could be a more cost-effective alternative. On top of having to pay a deductible, it’s possible that your auto insurance rates could increase as a result of such a claim, though this rise tends to be smaller than certain other claims.

See average rates with a comprehensive claim in the table below.

Number of Comprehensive Claims
Average Monthly RateAverage 6-Month Rate
No claims$129$774
One comp claim$133$798
Two comp claims$140$840

In short, if the repair costs are less — or even slightly more — than your deductible, don’t file a claim. Getting an estimate from a local garage could help you determine the next steps you need to take.

 


 

What does an insurance company consider to be vandalism?

Comprehensive insurance covers vandalism in most cases. It’s always a good idea to read the fine print of your car insurance policy, but most insurers will consider the following to be acts of vandalism:

  • Slashed tires
  • Broken windows
  • Keyed car
  • Graffiti

It’s also important to note that your car insurance coverage may not cover everything related to vandalism. Comprehensive coverage will cover your car if it is stolen, but it won't cover the contents. Similarly, if a window is smashed and you have personal items stolen, your comprehensive insurance will only cover the cost of repairs to your window, not the stolen items. Unless the items are a part of the car itself (such as a factory-installed car stereo), they are likely to be considered personal property. The stolen items would need to be covered by your renters, condo or homeowners insurance policy.

Does car insurance cover riots?

Damage occurring during riots is treated the same as damage from vandalism. If your car happens to be damaged during a period of social unrest, your comprehensive coverage will step in to pay for the damages.

 


 

Vandalism and your car insurance: considerations

Dealing with a vandalism claim can be stressful, making the insurance provider that you choose all the more important. While all insurance companies are likely to offer both comprehensive and collision coverage, companies will vary by price and in how they handle your claim. You’ll want to make sure that you choose an insurer that has a good record of customer service and claims satisfaction to ensure a smooth process.

If you are worried about the cost of such an auto insurance policy, it could be time to start looking for new insurance coverage. The Zebra is a great place to start, allowing you to compare auto insurance quotes from the nation’s top insurance companies side-by-side. Just enter your ZIP code to get started.

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Ross Martin LinkedIn

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross is responsible for researching and writing about all matters related to auto and home insurance. He has a background in writing and education, as well as a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London. He has been quoted by CNET, iDriveSafely.com, and Kin Insurance.