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Tips for Filing Auto Theft and Vandalism Claims

The steps you take before and after filing claims for auto theft or vandalism can get your car insurance claim processed faster and your check into your hand more quickly.

These tips will ensure that you have the information you need to file your claim and help your auto insurance company process it as quickly as possible.

Call the Police Immediately

Notify the police the moment you notice that your car has been stolen or damaged. Your car insurance company will likely require that you file a police report before they'll process a claim for theft or vandalism.

A prompt police report also makes it more likely for the police to locate a stolen car through security devices such as OnStar tracking or similar technologies.

Document the Damages

If your car has been vandalized, take pictures of the damage to submit with your auto insurance claim. It's also helpful if you have fairly current pictures of your car before the vandalism, just in case there's any question of when the damage happened.

If your car was stolen (or items were stolen from your car), try to compile a list of any personal property that may have been taken along with the car. Many comprehensive auto insurance policies cover stolen items that may not be covered by your homeowner's insurance.

Notify Your Car Insurance Company

Call your insurance company as soon as possible. If you have comprehensive car insurance, you should be covered for a theft or vandalism claim. However, there are some items you’ll need in order to file your claim.

Be prepared with the following information for a theft claim:

  • The vehicle title.
  • Location(s) of all keys to the vehicle before and after the theft.
  • Names of all people who have access to the car and the keys.
  • A full description of the vehicle, including upgrades and recent maintenance or repairs.
  • The list of personal property stolen with the vehicle.
  • Contact information for the lease or finance company (if your car is leased or still under lien to a lender).

Be prepared with the following information for a vandalism claim:

  • Description and/or pictures of the damage.
  • List of personal property that was stolen from the vehicle.
  • Contact information for the lender or lease company, if needed.

Keep Records and Receipts

Comprehensive car insurance often covers incidental expenses related to theft and vandalism claims, and may include the cost of alternative transportation while you don't have access to the insured vehicle. Check with your insurance company to see what's covered.

Keep copies of receipts for those expenses along with receipts for repairs and other related expenses, and submit them to the insurance company along with your claim.

Evaluation by Your Claims Adjustor

In case of vandalism or attempted theft, your car insurance company may send a claims adjuster immediately to assess the damage to your vehicle, or it may want additional pictures of the damage before making a decision.

Follow all instructions you get from the claims representative when you call to report the incident, and take any additional steps needed to protect your car from further damage, such as covering broken windows to protect the car's interior from weather.

If Your Car Is Recovered

If the police recover your stolen vehicle, let the insurance company know immediately. In addition, inform the insurance company of any damages to the car related to the theft so the insurer can determine the amount they'll pay for your claim.

Dealing with a stolen or vandalized car is never fun, but a little organization can help make the experience less stressful and get you back in the driver's seat as soon as possible.

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