An act of vandalism, such as when somebody smashes your vehicle's rear window with a brick, can occur virtually anywhere, even on your own property. Fortunately, auto insurance can protect you against these malicious acts when they occur. You'll need to be sure you are carrying the right type of coverage.
To be covered for occurrences like vandalism, your auto policy needs to carry "full coverage." In addition to mandatory liability coverage, you also need physical damage protection. Physical damage consists of collision, which pays for repairs or replacement if your vehicle is damaged in an accident. It also includes comprehensive, because it covers damage that is not the direct result of an accident.
The exact definition of vandalism can vary among different auto insurance companies and policies, but in general, vandalism involves any act of intentional, malicious damage to your vehicle. One common act of vehicle vandalism is "keying," which is the using of a sharp object like a key to scratch a vehicle's paint. Other types of vandalism include smashing objects onto vehicles like pumpkins during Halloween or shattering a rear window with a heavy object like a brick.
Comprehensive coverage protects you in the event of incidents like theft, fire, falling objects, windstorm, hail and flood as well as vandalism. Before your coverage goes into effect, you will have to pay a deductible, or an out-of-pocket amount. The higher the deductible you choose, the lower your comprehensive premium you will need to pay, but the more of the vandalism damage you will have to absorb. If you took out a loan to purchase your vehicle, your bank or lending institution will determine the deductible level you need to carry.
If you live in an area where acts of vandalism are common, it's probably a good idea to maintain comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, especially if you don't have a safe place like a garage or secure parking lot in which to park. It's also important to note that insurance companies take into consideration the frequency of vandalism claims in a geographic area when determining rates. If you live in a high-crime area, this will probably be reflected in your comprehensive premium.
Chris Joseph writes for websites and online publications, covering business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.