Damage Repair: Attempted Theft

Someone broke into my car and attempted to steal it. Fortunately, he was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, one door lock and the ignition were damaged. Now I have the insurance claim paperwork and need to find someone to repair it. A friend suggested that I hire a mobile locksmith rather than having the car towed to an auto repair shop. Is that a good or bad idea? Your comments, please! Thank you.

Can’t hurt to call a mobile locksmith to get an estimate but their ability to repair it will depend on the extent of the damage. If only the locks were damaged (unlikely) the locksmith can handle it. If the car itself… the door panel, the steering column that mounts the lock… was damaged, a locksmith won’t be able to do the repair.

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You most likely will pay your deductable no matter where it is repaired . Also you may have towing on your policy . Contact yor carrier as they may not want a mobile service but rather have it done at an approved shop.


The mobile locksmith is a good idea, but make sure the insurance company involved concurs.

We used a mobile locksmith after one of our cars was stolen. We had him change the door locks, ignition key, and the keyless entry computer. To get all of this done either requires a dealer or a special locksmith. There is only one in my state, and fortunately he was less than 20 miles from our home.

If there is damage to the steering column which would be likely if they needed to unlock the wheel, it will be beyond what a locksmith will do. So just take it to a shop and let them handle it.

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OP here. Thanks to everyone who replied. After talking to a couple auto locksmiths, I decided to go the repair shop route. Sadly, the estimated repair costs spiraled and the insurance company declared the car a total loss. My insurance agent counseled me to suspend rather than cancel my insurance policy, to avoid paying exorbitant rates down the road when I decide to buy a replacement vehicle. Does that make sense? If it matters, I’m in Ohio.

Why are you questioning the agents advice ? If the insurance company treated you like they should then stay with them . You can call other companies while the policy is suspended or you can call your carriers main office to verify what the agent said.

If the cost of the repairs exceeded the current value of the car then the insurance company will call it a total loss.I suggest you find an independant shop and pay the repairs from your own pocket.

If this vehicle is a Chevrolet Cavalier then it is not worth throwing your own money at it . I think the vehicle will have to be bought back from the insurance with a salvage title . Not a good move.

Many years ago a friend of mine had his vehicle broken into to steal his brand new ($35) car stereo. Smashed his dashboard with a cinderblock until the radio came out. Caused well over $1500 in damage to the vehicle. And the thief ignored the $900 pair of binoculars in the back seat.

Good point. I would believe strangers on the internet before the agent I’ve used for 20 years, not.

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If you dispose of the car, you won’t need car insurance. There must be a discount not available if you cancel and return in the future, your agent should have explained this.

I wouldn’t have made an insurance claim for a small repair on an old car, the result will be a salvage title and more trouble getting matters straightened out.

I do not know all (or any, really) of the details with how it’ll work with the insurance company, but I might be inclined to see if I could purchase the vehicle back from the insurance company once it’s totaled. Seems like you could take a steering column out of a junk cavalier and you might have some cheap transportation. I would try to find a column with a key to hopefully avoid possible complications. Just a thought. May not be worth fooling with depending on the rest of the damage they did, condition of the car, the price the insurance company will want for it, etc.

With State Farm there is an initial membership fee for each policy. If you get rid of a car and cancel the insurance, no problem. At a later date you can use the membership fee paid on the old policy to avoid it on the new policy. Your results may vary.

I will say that when the kid’s car was stolen and recovered, there was damage to the steering column. Just a metal ring. State Farm wanted to pay $250 for damages but I said no I’ll just take care of it myself, which I did.