What to Do About Your Broken Car Window After a Break-In
Imagine this: you walk out to your car after a long day at work, only to find your heart sinking as you see the shattered glass on the pavement and the unmistakable sight of a broken car window. It's a situation that nobody wants to experience, but sadly, it occurs frequently. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported that in 2022, more than 1 million vehicles were stolen, the highest number of thefts since 2008.
From securing your vehicle and filing a police report to temporarily covering the broken window and repairing the damage, we've got you covered to navigate this traumatic situation. We're here to help you with the necessary steps after such an unfortunate event.
First Steps to Take After a Car Break-In
Check Your Surroundings to Ensure Immediate Safety
After a car break-in, prioritize your safety by quickly assessing your surroundings. Look for signs of danger or suspicious activity to ensure your immediate well-being. If you're alone, consider moving to a well-lit and populated area before documenting the damage and the next steps to repair and report it. Always prioritize your and your family’s safety above all else.
Document the Scene
Once you're safe and when possible, take clear photos of any damage to your vehicle, including broken windows, damaged doors, or signs of forced entry. Additionally, photograph any personal belongings tampered with and document stolen items. These visual records will be valuable evidence for insurance claims and police reports and could lead to a possible recovery of stolen items.
Take Inventory of Missing Items
After documenting the scene, check your vehicle's glove compartment, console, trunk, and other storage areas for missing items. Pay special attention to electronics, valuables, purses/wallets, debit/credit cards, and sensitive documents containing personal information that may have been taken. Besides money, look for items that provide access to your home, such as a garage door opener and missing license plates.
Freeze Accounts/Credit or Prevent ID Theft
If your credit or debit cards were taken, contact your card issuers or report it to your bank and change your security codes immediately. Ask them to put credit freezes and fraud alerts on your accounts and request replacement cards.
A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, making it difficult for unauthorized individuals to open new accounts or lines of credit in your name. Fraud alerts notify potential lenders to verify your identity before extending credit. These steps add extra security and reduce identity theft risk after a car break-in.
Call the Police and File a Report
Contact your local police department immediately to report the car break-in. An officer might be sent to the scene, or you may need to file a report at the station. Find out your city’s ordinances and processes for reporting thefts, and know that not all local police departments dispatch officers to file police reports. If an officer is not dispatched, you might need to file an online police report with all relevant details of the incident, any photos taken, any observed damage, and the list of missing or damaged items. Your insurance company may require a police report if you want to file an insurance claim for the break-in.
So, have the following items handy to ensure a smooth process:
- Your driver's license
- Car insurance ID card
- Vehicle registration
- Photos showing the damage
- List of stolen or missing items
To keep your car safe after the windows have been broken, it's essential to park it in a secure location. Leaving a car with broken windows on the street makes it more vulnerable to additional theft or vandalism. If possible, find a secure, well-monitored location, and help against weather conditions to park. This reduces the chances of additional damage or theft. Plus, it protects your car's interior from bad weather like rain or snow.
Clean up Broken Glass and Debris
After a car break-in, cleaning up debris is crucial. If you decide to clean the damaged glass, use safety attire, such as proper gloves and safety glasses while attempting to clean glass from the car's interior and trunk. Pay attention to hidden nooks and crannies where glass may have settled. Thoroughly clean the affected areas multiple times to ensure your safety.
Have Broken Car Window Repaired
After dealing with the unfortunate occurrence, trust the experts to help you through this process and get you back on the road safely. Contact Caliber Auto Care – a reputable and reliable auto glass repair service, to make the process convenient. Our expert technicians will fix any windshield and side glass repair and replace your vehicle in no time. Trust Caliber to get the job done right the first time.
Temporarily Cover Broken Car Windows (If necessary/possible)
Covering the broken car window until it can be repaired is crucial. Whether it was damaged by hail, a break-in, or an accident, every car owner needs to know how to temporarily cover a broken window to protect the interior and keep outdoor elements at bay. Here's a list of the tools and materials you need for the process:
Tools and Materials Required
- Thick safety gloves
- Something to cut with like a knife or safety scissors
- Microfiber cloth
- A vacuum
- High-density plastic such as a trash bag
Safety Tips to Deter Car Break-Ins
- Secure access to your vehicle by locking your car door and rolling up your windows: Always lock your car even when driving and ensure all the windows are fully closed when you leave it, even if you'll be away for just a short period. This simple step makes it more difficult for thieves to access your vehicle.
- Choose well-lit parking areas: Opt for well-lit parking spots, particularly during nighttime. Adequate lighting is a deterrent to potential criminals and increases the likelihood of someone noticing any suspicious activity near your car.
- Install or activate a car alarm system: Consider installing a car alarm system if you don't already have one. Activating the alarm before leaving your vehicle can alert you and others nearby if someone attempts to break in. The loud noise emitted by the alarm can scare off thieves and attract attention.
- Keep valuables out of sight: Avoid leaving valuable items, such as purses, laptops, or electronics, in plain sight inside your car. If you must leave them behind, secure them in the trunk, glove compartment, or under the seat where they are not easily visible to passersby. The best practice is to stow away your valuables before arriving at your destination because you never know who is watching.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and vigilant when approaching or leaving your car. Look out for suspicious individuals or activities, and trust your instincts if something feels off. If you notice something suspicious, please report it to the authorities.