You walk out the door, ready to start your day. Then your heart sinks as you notice broken glass surrounding your car.
Unfortunately, you’re not alone. A car break-in is a scene that too many Americans encounter each year. And after those initial feelings of shock and disappointment subside, you may be left wondering what to do next.
Here are some steps you should take if your vehicle has been broken into:
- Check your surroundings. Before you do anything else, look around to make sure you’re safe. Most of the time vehicle burglars are only after your valuables and quickly leave the scene. But if anything makes you feel uncomfortable, leave your vehicle and find a safe place to call for help.
- Record what you lost. If your car was broken into, chances are the thief found something of value. Check for missing purses, wallets, smartphones and other electronics. Then, make a list of anything that was taken. It’s also a good idea to take photos of your vehicle damage for reference.
- File a police report. To make a report, call the police office’s non-emergency number – not 911. While not all break-ins can be investigated, the report will help officers track local crime trends and can provide documentation for your insurer if you file a claim.
- Protect yourself from identity theft. If you discover any credit or debit cards are missing, immediately notify your bank to cancel the old cards and order replacements. They’ll also help monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.
- Pro tip: Getting back to normal after identity theft can be a lengthy, expensive process. Before you have to handle it alone, ask your Erie Insurance agent about adding identity theft recovery coverage to your homeowners or renters policy for around $20 a year.
- File an insurance claim. Should you file a claim or not? Here’s where a local, independent insurance agent can walk you through the process and help you understand what to do next. Damage to your car from a break-in is typically covered under your auto policy’s comprehensive coverage, but if any of your belongings were taken, they might be covered under your homeowners or renters policy.
One more thing: While break-ins are never completely preventable, you can take some steps to help lower your risk. Always lock your car doors, roll up your windows and keep valuables out of sight.
If you do have to file a claim, know that we're on it. Your claim is how we start making things right for you, resetting the damage and distress of an unexpected loss so you can relax, rebound and get back to your life. Learn more about our award-winning claims service and what makes ERIE different.