Returning to your vehicle to find that it has been broken into is a real pain and if it’s the first time that it’s happened to you it can cause some significant panic. What’s the next thing you need to do? Knowing the steps to follow can help you stay calm and get things taken care of quickly. This guide will walk you through everything you need to do if your car gets broken into.

1. Photograph the scene

Take pictures of any damage and misplaced items. Make sure that you leave things the way they were before taking any pictures. This will help you keep track of displaced items and good to include in your police report.

If you were parked at home check for footage from any security cameras or doorbell cams even if they’re not in clear view of the vehicle. It’s possible that the perpetrator actually passed by the views of these cameras which could prove essential in tracking them down.

If you have a Raven installed in the vehicle, retrieve the video footage from Cabin and Road cameras from the web app by selecting the ‘car movement’ notification associated with the break-in. Even at night Raven’s infrared sensor illuminates the cabin with night vision so you can see all of the details. This footage could be critical in catching the culprit.

2. Document the scene

Take a look through the vehicle for anything stolen and damaged, this will be helpful both in your police report and if you file a claim with your insurance company. 

3. File a police report

If the break-in is not currently in action, please refrain from calling 911. Rather, look up your local police’s non-emergency line or online reporting tool. If the break-in is not active they will likely not send an officer so calling 911 will only wrap up resources and likely waste your own time. Things you should have ready to file your police report:

  • Drivers License
  • Insurance pink slip 
  • Vehicle registration
  • Footage or photographic evidence of the break-in and ideally of the perpetrator
  • List of stolen property

4. Clean up the scene

Put displaced items back where they belong and clean up any broken glass if a window was smashed. To clean up broken glass from the damaged car window 

  1. Protect yourself by wearing gloves.
  2. Pick up any large pieces of glass that remain in the window. 
  3. Clear as much of the glass around the window as possible.
  4. Take a shop vac to the frame. Be as thorough as possible and ge into the window seal.
  5. Vacuum around the scene and in your vehicle. Note that it could take a few pass overs to get all of the glass out from the vehicle.
  6. Place a clear garbage bag over the broken window until you’re able to get it fixed.

5. Place a fraud alert with creditors

Be extra aware of any personal information missing. If any articles stolen include your address and birthdate, place an identity alert out with your creditor. This will require lenders to call you directly before extending any credit to confirm the validity of the request.

6. Call banks to cancel cards

Additionally, if some of that personal information happened to be bank cards either debit or credit, call your bank to place a freeze on your account or cancel your cards and request replacement cards. As a reminder, don’t leave any banking information or valuables in your vehicle, items like these are sometimes the break-in happened in the first place. It is easy to forget though, so thankfully there are safeguards out there that exist.

7. Get your car repaired

If you don’t already have a trusty body repair shop or glass shop in your contacts, give your mechanic a call. They’ll be able to provide you with a high quality, and likely lower cost option, than the commercial glass shops.


An option that a lot of commercial shops won’t tell you is that used glass from another vehicle that matches yours will not only save you money but also could match better than glass straight from the factory so if you’re looking to save some money ask about this option.

8. Decide whether to file an insurance claim

Just remember that while insurance is great when you need it, it’s not always worth using. If you have a comprehensive auto insurance policy it will cover vandalism and theft but your premium will also go up. Consider the repair cost and weigh out your options before you decide. If your deductible is greater than the cost of damage it’s not worth claiming as you won’t receive any money from your insurer.


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