6 Steps to Follow if Your Car Is Broken Into
Getting to your car and finding it has been broken into or vandalised is sure to spoil any day. But instead of carrying on as normal and writing the whole thing off as a bad experience, there are some crucial steps you should always follow, regardless of how minor the damage is.
Contact the Police
Maybe you’re already disciplined at not leaving valuables and personal items in your car, but you should always contact the police if your car has been vandalised or broken into. Even when you know that nothing could have been stolen.
Aside from you needing an incident number if you intend initiating an insurance claim, reporting a seemingly minor crime such as a vehicle break-in is crucial at helping local police establish whether there is a pattern or increase in criminal activity. This in turn could lead to a more active and visible police presence in the area.
If the police can’t attend to your incident immediately, they might ask you to report it at your local police station. Be sure to take photos of the vehicle and the damage before moving your car. They can be helpful for the police and your insurance.
Check if Anything Was Stolen
If the police confirm they will attend to your incident in person, wait until they arrive before checking if anything was stolen. Don’t focus only on valuable items such as a purse, wallet, or your laptop or phone. Some thieves break into cars only to look for garage remotes and registration or insurance papers that include your home address. The goal for these thieves is gaining access to your home and its contents rather than what might be in your car.
If your purse or wallet was stolen, you obviously need to call your bank to cancel your cards and arrange for replacements, but if your garage remote is missing you need to have the codes on your garage door opener changed immediately.
Look for Cameras and Witnesses
While waiting for the police to arrive, or before driving off to the nearest police station, look around for cameras or witnesses. Finding witnesses can be a little tricky if you have no idea when the break in happened but check with any nearby businesses or residential homes. And your car doesn’t have to be parked in direct line of sight of any security cameras; the camera footage can also be checked for suspects.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
If the damage isn’t serious, and nothing valuable has been taken, you might want to skip putting in an insurance claim. Aside from losing your no-claim discount and having to pay a high excess, a small claim could also see your premium increase significantly later. For broken windows, contact a reputable auto glass company for a quote before deciding whether or not a claim is necessary. For damaged locks, contact your dealership to find out which nearby businesses are able to replace or repair them.
Repair the Damage
Auto glass is designed to break into smaller pieces that are less likely to cut. However, this does not mean they are completely harmless. If you have access to a vacuum cleaner, use it to clean up most of the broken glass before you get in. Alternatively, use an auto glass repair service that offers mobile repairs and replacements, so the window can be replaced without you having to drive anywhere first. An added benefit for mobile auto glass repairs is that they operate 24 hours a day, so no need to wait until regular business hours before getting your car fixed.
Prevent Future Break-Ins
The obvious steps to preventing future break-ins include parking in well-lit, busy areas; fitting an audible car alarm; and making sure you don’t leave valuables in your car or taking steps to make sure they’re out of sight. Less obvious is having your windows tinted using a product like Pure Steel window film from Instant Windscreens. This tint doesn’t only make it more difficult for would-be thieves to see if there are any valuables in your car, it also makes windows more difficult to break. And that alone could be a sufficient deterrent.