Car Broken Into: Worth Calling the Cops?
July 16, 2011 9:59 AM   Subscribe

My car was broken into, but nothing of value was stolen. Any benefit in calling the police? Or should I just fix the window and move on?

In Chicago. Car is always parked in the same residential area. Walked out this morning to find the back passenger-side window (all the way back, it's a wagon) smashed in with a rock. I think the only thing in there was a portable jump starter, which is gone, but I don't care.

I'm not expecting anything to come of filing this, so it doesn't seem worth the hassle to call the cops. My deductible is $500, and I suspect it'll be cheaper to fix out of pocket, so can I just get the window fixed and call it a day? Or is there some reason I'd want to drag the cops and insurance company into this?
posted by SpiffyRob to Law & Government (11 answers total)
I wouldn't bother calling insurance or the police, personally.
posted by empath at 10:02 AM on July 16, 2011

Best answer: The last time this happened to me I could file online (although this was in Vancouver). The cops told me it was important to file because they keep stats on where these things happen so they can allocate resources etc.

I don't see any benefit in using insurance if its cheaper not to.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 10:02 AM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding SpaceWarp13 on reporting it so the police have stats on crime. Plus, if there is a rash of such breakins, they can warn people in the neighborhood. You don't need to call the insurance company if you aren't making a claim.
posted by cabingirl at 10:04 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

We filed a police report (online) when our car got broken into, in no small part because I want the break-in to be included in the crime stats.
posted by rtha at 10:05 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So reporting the break-in to police should have any impact on my insurance rates if I don't file a claim with them?
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:09 AM on July 16, 2011

Response by poster: *shouldn't.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:09 AM on July 16, 2011

Best answer: Been there, done that. I called the (non-emergency) cops but didn't bother calling the insurance company. I see reporting (even small) crimes as part of my civic duty, for reasons people stated above.

The first time it happened, I was out the cost of a new window, a box of tissues, some loose change, and the ability to use the CD player/radio in my car. (They pried off and broke the faceplate, but didn't actually manage to steal the damned stereo.) I called the cops, who kind of laughed at me, but fuck what they think. It's still my right to file a police report.

The second time it happened (this time no window was broken because I learned to keep my doors unlocked), I thought nothing was taken (just rummaged through), until I realized my car insurance and registration forms were missing out of the glove box. That time I definitely called the cops, just in case whoever stole them was planning to use them for insurance fraud purposes. I would have called the insurance company, too, but technically my car is supposed to be in Georgia, so I didn't.

Make sure that "nothing of value" actually means nothing of value. And yeah, call the cops. It should only take about 5 minutes.
posted by phunniemee at 10:11 AM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Guy's car got broken into a number of times over a few months while parked in our deeded spot in the alley. He reported each time with no impact to his insurance rate--even the time he actually inquired about claiming the replacement window.

The benefit to reporting it was an actual increased police presence around the block for a while. If your Area is one of the good ones, they will allot resources based on citizen reporting of what they consider nuisance crimes. But if your Area is one of the great ones, you'll end up friends with your cops and they will come out and shoe-away amplified jazz flute guy (who's on the corner, breaking the law and annoying your upstairs neighbor) when you call because they know you.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:14 AM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Filed the report over the phone, trying to find a good auto glass place now.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:17 AM on July 16, 2011

I agree with reporting. Also, if your car gets broken into again (broken window-style), I'd highly recommend leaving the doors unlocked and keeping nothing of value in the car. Either that, or inquire with your insurance company about adding broken glass coverage. Not all insurance companies offer this, but typically comprehensive doesn't have a low enough deductible to cover windows, which stinks.
posted by erstwhile at 11:13 AM on July 16, 2011

They may have been after paperwork to establish residence or identity.
posted by Brian B. at 9:26 AM on July 17, 2011

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