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It always seems to happen when you least expect it. Just before driving to work or leaving the grocery store to head home, a smash-and-grab burglary ruins your car and your day. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there is one case of auto theft every 6.5 minutes in the U.S., and the majority of them are conducted in smash-and-grab fashion, leaving you stuck dealing with the aftermath of shattered glass and a broken car window.

But before you seek out proper car window repair or replacement services, there are a few things that need to be done in the event of experiencing a smashed window at the hands of a forced entry theft. Let’s go over a routine procedure of what you should do in the aftermath of a smash-and-grab car burglary, so you can get back on the road as soon as possible.


While your first reaction to seeing your car window is smashed might be to scream or cry, it’s important to start documenting literally everything you can. Grab your phone and start taking pictures of the exterior and interior damage of your car, and be sure not to touch or move anything prior to taking photographs.

Be on the lookout for these items that are commonly stolen during smash-and-grab burglaries:

●        Phones         

●        Laptops         

●        Tablets         

●        Holiday shopping        

●        Wallets and purses        

●        Money        

●        Car keys

Make notes of anything you’ve deemed to be stolen, and again, don’t touch anything until you’ve contacted your insurance provider as well as local police. If you notice that anything with sensitive personal information is missing, such as credit cards or a smartphone, try to have those deactivated as quick as possible.

Thorough documentation is the most efficient way to assess all of the damage your vehicle has endured, as well as what will be covered in your insurance claim and what can be used as evidence for the police.   


Once you’ve documented all the damage and stolen property, it’s time to call for help. Start by gathering together all the personal information you’ll need to provide to your insurance provider and police officers, such as driver’s license, vehicle registration, and car insurance information.

When you have all your documents handy, call the police to file a report of a vehicle break-in robbery. While waiting for the authorities to arrive, contact your insurance provider to start the process of filing an insurance claim.

After the police have filled out their report, be sure to ask for a copy of it that you can provide to your insurance company. Once everything has been officially documented and reported, you can start cleaning up any damage surrounding your car the best you can. If you have a vacuum handy or there’s a car vacuum nearby, use that to clean up shattered glass instead of using your hands.  


Driving around with a smashed car window is never fun, especially during winter or a rainy day. If you need a temporary tune up to cover your broken car window, the easiest way to go about it is to use a plastic trash bag or a piece of cardboard to tape on over the smashed window.

Try to use packing or masking tape instead of duct tape, which can be more difficult to remove. Also be sure not to apply tape directly to the exterior of the car, which could alter or rip off your vehicle’s paint. Instead, tape directly to the interior of your car, and layer your tape job with extra tape to minimize the amount of wind that will come inside your vehicle. 


Although nobody wants to think about the possibility of a smash-and-grab, if the unthinkable does happen, you’ll need fast and convenient side window replacement. Plan ahead by putting our number into your emergency contacts. At Zenith Auto Glass, we specialize in convenient auto glass replacement throughout the Northland area. Our professional auto glass replacement team is experienced with ADAS calibration and custom orders.

And don’t worry about driving with the frosty winter air inside your vehicle. We’ll drive to meet you for added convenience so you can have the peace of mind to know your ride is safe and secure once again. We bring more than 35 years of experience to every job and work with all types of makes and models.  


The next step will be reaching out to a professional auto glass repair center to have the damage assessed and fixed. The technicians will prep your vehicle for the installation, which can include placing protective tape around the windows and barriers across any areas of the interior that are exposed.

If there are any attachments on the glass, these will also be removed and stored safely until the installation is finished. The remaining glass pieces will be removed either by hand or with a vacuum and the area is cleaned so the new adhesive can be applied. The frame may also need to be primed to ensure there’s no contamination, and once this is completed, the glass will be installed, cleaned, and any wipers, mirrors, or attachments will be replaced.

If you have an ADAS system in your vehicle that provides assistance with safety features like backup cameras and detection systems for lane changes, it will need to be calibrated. The calibration can help ensure that your features are working correctly and functioning optimally to keep you safer on the road.


There are a few common errors that individuals make if they are experiencing a broken window in their vehicle, and one of the biggest ones is to avoid doing the project yourself. If you are not a trained professional in glass replacement, it can cost you more in the long run if you make a mistake than taking it to a technician.

Avoid using online tutorials. They can make the process look easy, but the biggest mistake is that the people in the videos already have experience with replacements, so they understand what tools to use and ways to fix common issues.

You also want to refrain from using the vehicle until the broken glass has been fixed. Your windows and windshield are there to help protect you and your passengers inside the vehicle from projectiles. In addition, if you have broken glass inside the car, this can be even more dangerous because there is a risk of injury.


The only thing that’s more infuriating than knowing you’ve been a victim of crime is realizing that you’re stuck with the hassle of having to replace a broken window. That’s why our team at Zenith Auto Glass is happy to make the process as simple and seamless as possible. To schedule your convenient side window replacement services, give us a call at 218-275-5555 or contact us online to find out more about our services.