Question: When out one night with friends, we got back to my car to see some strangers (drunks) bashing in my car’s windows because they thought it was funny. My friends chased the culprits away. Will my windows be covered by my auto insurance if I have full coverage?
Answer: Yes, by having physical damage coverages of collision and comprehensive (what many refer to as full coverage) on your car, you are covered for most damages that your car sustains – including drunks smashing in your windows.
In your particular situation, shattered windows should be covered under your comprehensive coverage because this covers your vehicle for both glass breakage and vandalism.
Comprehensive is also referred to as “other than collision” because it covers perils that aren’t the result of a collision with your vehicle. Theft, glass breakage and damage as a result of vandalism, striking an animal, hail or windstorm or other natural disasters are typically covered by this coverage.
Collision, your other physical damage coverage, covers you when you hit, or are hit by, another vehicle or object. So, if the drunks were instead in another car and crashed into your vehicle and drove off, then you’d make a claim under your collision coverage -- and you’d hope the culprit got picked up for a DUI.
For vandalism claims (which this may fall under if you find damages other than with the glass), most auto insurance companies will require a report to be made with law enforcement so there is documentation about how the damage was done.
If it is just your windows that were damaged, check your policy to see if you have full glass coverage. If you do, then the claim may not be subject to your comprehensive deductible.
If you haven’t yet contacted your car insurance company to make a claim, you may first want to get an estimate for damage to your car and find out if it is more than your deductible amount (if you find that you do indeed owe it).
If the repair costs are less than your comprehensive deductible, then there is no reason to make a claim because your insurance benefits don’t start until you pay out your deductible amount. So, if your deductible is $1,000 and your windows will cost $800 to repair, you can’t make a claim and you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for the repairs.
If the cost of the repairs is over your deductible amount, then go ahead and make the claim. For instance, if you had a $250 deductible and $800 worth of repair costs, then the bulk of the expenses would be paid by your insurer ($550), and make it worth filing a claim.
Comprehensive claims don’t normally affect your auto insurance rates. If, however, you have a few claims on your insurance claims history, then the number of claims you have could cause your rates to spike upwards.
If your insurer does increase your rates at renewal time, be sure to shop around. Drivers, even with a few claims on their record, can comparison shop for car insurance quotes and save hundreds of dollars on their next policy.