It happens countless times every year, despite our best efforts to prevent it: vandals will strike and they will seek to take whatever they can get their hands on out of your car. Especially common in financially-strained times, would-be thieves try to gain access to your car through a variety of ways. While there is the slim chance that your car will be stolen, it is much more likely that it will be vandalized in the pursuit of money, electronics or other valuables. Most people try not to leave expensive items in their cars or in plain sight, but this does not always deter thieves.
Broken auto glass is a commonly-found result of these forms of vandalism and can leave vehicle owners without a way to safely operate them. Fortunately, auto glass repairs can almost always be obtained quickly, if you react properly. Whether you have been a victim of vandalism in the past and had a bad experience or simply want to be prepared for the future, you will appreciate the following advice that outlines what you should do in the event your car’s auto glass is broken in an act of vandalism.
Contact Law Enforcement
When you discover the damage to your automobile, the first thing that you should do is contact local law enforcement. You will be asked to file a police report and the officer will investigate the scene for any clues that may be helpful. Unfortunately, many vandals get away with their actions and leave very little behind that can track them, but it is always smart to file a claim due to the implications that it can have on insurance. If you do not file a report and begin an insurance claim, your insurer may be more likely to fight the charges. Since this is the last thing you want to deal with, you should always contact law enforcement first.
Contact an Auto Glass Repair Shop
There are most likely several different auto glass options in your area, but you will probably be in a rush to have these repairs performed so that you can get back on the road. The police officer at the scene may even recommend an auto glass repair shop (since vandalism is such a common crime), but you owe it to yourself to do a bit of investigation before you select a technician. If you have a mobile device with you, then be sure to search all of the local shops for reviews and accreditation. When you’ve located a repair shop that you are satisfied with performing the repairs or windshield replacement, then you can make the call and a technician will arrive shortly.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you have handled the law enforcement and technical aspects of the repair job, it is now time to contact your auto insurer. They may be able to provide additional information on any out-of-pocket expenses or help you file a claim for other items that may have been stolen from the vehicle. It is always a good idea to alert the insurer of the damage – even if nothing was stolen – so that there is a record of contact before the claim is filed. This will make the overall process a bit smoother and help you be studious with record-keeping.
Dealing with the Aftermath
Depending on the situation, you may still have other institutions that need to be contacted. If your wallet or any credit cards were stolen, for instance, then you will need to contact these banks and agencies to have them canceled. If you had keys or other personal information in the car that revealed your location, then a change of your home’s lock is definitely something that must be considered. In addition to this, any theft of mobile devices or items under contract should be reported missing as well, so that service or any existing contracts can be canceled on them.
In most cases, a simple windshield repair job can be performed in around 30 minutes, once the technician arrives. A complete replacement of a window or windshield may take up to two hours, but you will not be able to drive if these vital components are not in place. You also do not want to move the vehicle while the glass is curing, so you will need to occupy yourself during this time (hopefully by doing some of the things mentioned above). Do not worry, though: auto glass technicians are well-trained and can get the job done in as little time as possible.
Minimizing Future Risks
Sometimes, there is nothing that can stop a vandal from intruding. You can take some precautions, however, such as hiding valuables in the trunk, installing window tint to minimize visibility inside of the car and making sure that you do not park too far away from a frequented public space. These elements will help minimize the likelihood of a break-in, according to the Seattle Police Department.
If your car has suffered a break-in and your auto glass is damaged, you can act quickly to solve the issue and get back on the road. Call law enforcement first, and then contact an auto glass repair shop. Once these wheels are in motion, be sure to also contact your auto insurance company and any other institutions that might be impacted by theft, such as your bank or cell phone provider. For the future, always be sure to keep valuables – and any items – out of sight and park in spaces that are well-lit or frequented by many people.