There’s nothing like the awful feeling when you come across a car break-in and smashed window and not knowing what to do and where to start.
It’s important to take the right steps and in the right order when your car gets broken into, especially when your car window has been smashed and items have been stolen.
What Can I Do Until I Can Get My Window Repaired?
If you have a hairline or bullseye crack in your window, you can temporarily seal it with quality tape.
Clear packing tape is a good choice as it will seal well and keep the elements out. It’s important to attach it to the interior and not the exterior as it could damage your car paint. Run it vertically from the top to the bottom of the inside of your car window and continue with several layers. Then run horizontal strips over the window to ensure that it’s all covered up.
It is important to get it fixed as soon as possible, however, as it can crack further and you certainly don’t want this to happen while you are driving. If the window is completely smashed or cracked in such a way that it obstructs your view, you can contact a mobile windscreen fitter to come out to you and do an emergency windscreen installation.
Will My Insurance Pay to Fix My Broken Window?
It all depends on what they cover. If you have comprehensive cover, your insurer will pay for the damage to your car. For the additional stolen items in your car, however, you will have to check with your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy.
What to Do in a Car Break-In: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: First Things First, Call the Police
You need to report the break-in and theft before you can do anything else as you will need to file a police report. However, rather dial the non-emergency number instead to avoid using the emergency services that could be dealing with something far more serious.
If you are in a public parking area, see if you can spot a security officer who can keep an eye on your car as you sort everything out. Resist the urge to look around in your car, rather wait for the police so that they can see the fresh crime scene. Please note that in some areas the police might not come out to you and you will have to drive to the nearest police station.
You need a police report to claim for the window repair from your insurance company so always report it first and fix it later. Also, remember to list everything that was stolen, even those items that are not insured. If the perpetrator is caught, these items can still be returned to you, so they need everything on record.
Step 2: Record Everything
Take out your phone and snap photos of everything – everything! If you can see a nearby security camera, ask if you can review the footage sooner rather than later.
They often don’t keep backlogged footage, so it might be erased by the time you return.
Step 3: To Claim or Not to Claim, that is the Question
You should first review your current policy to see what will be covered. After calculating the damage and what it will cost to fix or replace the stolen items, decide whether it will be worth it to claim.
If your total amount of damages is going to be lower than your deductible, it might not make sense to claim. Remember that it’s sometimes better to pay for it out of pocket simply because claiming will result in higher premiums.
Step 4: Get Your Window Fixed ASAP.
It’s better to get your car window fixed as soon as possible to avoid fines. Whether you drive to the nearest workshop or get a mobile windscreen fitter to come to you, don’t put off getting it fixed.
Step 5: Protect Against Identity Theft and Depleted Bank Accounts
If any important identification documents or bank cards were stolen, you should immediately report it.
Call your bank to freeze your bank cards before it can be used to make any purchases.
You might want to keep an eye on your credit score as well just to be safe. Replace all of these stolen items as soon as possible.
Step 6: Think it Through
Carefully consider everything that was stolen and what the implications could be. For example, if your house keys were stolen you should consider getting your locks changed.
Step 7: Anti-Theft Measures
Reflect on whether there is anything you could have done to prevent the car break-in. Perhaps you should install anti-theft measures such as a car alarm. Or perhaps you could reconsider where you park your car, going for places that are well lit or that are under video surveillance.
Consider all of it in order to compile a plan of action to avoid a car break-in in the future.
Is it Illegal to Drive with a Broken Car Window?
It all depends on what the damage is. However, it’s generally illegal to drive with a cracked or broken passenger window in Perth. This is especially true if the crack obstructs your view or reflects light that could be distracting while driving.
To break it down, it’s illegal to drive with a damaged laminated windscreen, if it has a crack that goes deeper than the first layer of glass and if the crack covers 16mm in diameter or 150mm in length. If you are unsure whether it’s illegal, it probably is.
However, even if it isn’t, the smallest cracks can cause serious damage if left unattended. Every time that you drive, it could be cracking further, and you might even end up with a completely shattered window.
When you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a car break-in and smashed window, it’s important to have the relevant numbers on hand, so ensure you have the important ones saved on your phone.