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Ask the Car Insurance Expert

Someone damaged the lock when trying to break into my car. Do I have to pay an insurance deductible when I get the lock repaired?

Theft or damage from vandalism is covered under comprehensive car insurance. Assuming you have comprehensive insurance, then yes, you will have to pay the deductible if you want to make a claim.

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Car insurance has several components. Most states require vehicle owners to carry liability coverage, which pays for damage and injuries they cause others. But no states require comprehensive insurance or collision coverage. Besides theft and damage from vandalism, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car from collisions with animals and natural disasters, such as hail and flooding. Collision insurance covers damage to your car from traffic accidents. Both types of coverage include a deductible, which varies by policy. Generally the higher the deductible, the smaller the car insurance premium.

Whenever your car is vandalized, notify police as soon as possible to file a report. This will provide documentation that the vandalism occurred, and your insurance company likely will require it to resolve the claim. If the damage is serious enough to file a claim, then call your car insurance agent or company without delay. Your agent or a company representative will guide you through the process on what to do to get the damage assessed and repaired.

Whether it's even worth filing an insurance claim depends on the seriousness of the damage and the size of your deductible.

For more, see Car insurance basics.

Last updated: Sep. 10, 2012
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