What to Do if Your Car is Broken Into During the Holiday Season
To many people, the best time of year is the holiday season when they unite with family, rekindle friendships and to continue traditions. Unfortunately, the holidays aren’t just the time of year for your family to get together; it’s also the time of year for thieves too.
Ways to Prevent Holiday Break-ins
To help to prevent a holiday break in, check off these tips:
- Don’t leave valuables in your car such as purses, bags, laptops, wallets, credit cards or cell phones. Anything that’s left in plain view is like an advertisement to potential thieves.
- Hide accessories and chargers that indicate you have a mobile phone, GPS or other device kept in your car.
- Remove key cards, garage door openers and work or house keys from your vehicle that could otherwise give a potential burglar access to your house.
- Always roll up your windows, remove your keys, lock your door and set your car alarm (if you have one). If you don’t, consider installing a security system.
- Store your car in a locked garage if possible. If you must park your car outside near your home or in a carport, leave your home’s exterior lights on at night.
Sometimes, though, no matter how well you safeguard your vehicle, you can’t always prevent a break-in. Break-ins and burglaries tend to spike during the holiday season since thieves know a lot of homeowners go away for the holidays leaving their home and cars unattended.
So, if your car has been broken into, aside from notifying your independent insurance agency, here are the steps of what to do next.
Document the Scene
Take photographs of any damage to your vehicle and make a list of all stolen items. Keep in mind that along with electronics and money, thieves also take things like auto parts (rims, tires or catalytic converters) and license plates. Be sure to take note if any of these things go missing.
File a Report with the Police
If you file a vehicle break-in claim, your insurance company will most likely ask for a police report. When you file a report, don’t move your car until a police officer shows up. Some things you should have on hand include:
- Vehicle registration
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle insurance ID card
- List of items stolen
- Pictures of any damage
When you call to file a report, they may have you come in.
Park in a Secure Spot
If you have any broken windows, be sure you park in a secure location. Cars with a broken window make easy targets for car thieves. Try to park your car in locations other than the street like a secure garage.
Decide if you’re Going to File an Insurance Claim
There are two coverage types that car break-in insurance can fall under:
- Homeowners or renters insurance: Covers stolen possessions from the vehicle if they’re not affixed permanently. For instance, this insurance wouldn’t cover a car stereo, but it would cover your smartphone.
- Comprehensive Coverage: You can add this coverage to your current car insurance policy to cover any damage to your vehicle.
Before filing a claim, keep in mind that after you file a claim, your insurance rates may increase. Also, the insurance won’t pay you if you have a deductible that’s higher than the cost of your stolen items or damage. For instance, if your deductible is $2000 and the repair costs for your car is $1500, that $1500 will go towards your deductible.
No matter how prepared you are, theft is always possible. But, safeguarding your vehicle and investing in insurance will help give you the peace of mind that your car won’t be a target for thieves and if it is, you’re covered.