If you’ve ever decided to wrap your friend’s new car in saran wrap for an April fools prank, then you understand how funny car pranks can be. However, if you’ve fallen victim to an intense car prank, or one that has gone way too far so as to damage your car, then there are few things you should do to protect your vehicle from further damages and to possibly get some money for repairs.

Whether the prank was performed by a friend or a stranger, if your car is damaged in any way then there are a few steps you will want to take to take in order to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Take photo evidence.

Whether your car is in your driveway or in a parking lot, do not move your vehicle until you have taken gratuitous photo evidence of any and all damages that may have been caused by the prankster. Look over your vehicle in extreme detail for even the smallest of scratches that were not there before. The most common areas of damage in a car prank include the driver’s seat, the bumper, the driveshafts, the windshield wipers, the brake pedal, and the exhaust whistle.

If someone has used duct tape on your vehicle, make sure to take extra care that you do not accidentally remove the sticker on your license plate. Once you feel you have taken sufficient photo evidence, you may move any sticky notes or wrap obstructing your view and take the vehicle home.

Contact your insurance company.

Once you’ve collected your evidence, you should contact your insurance agency and send them all documentation of the damages. If the damage to your car was caused by a friend just looking for a good laugh, then hopefully you will be able to talk to them and convince them to pay for the damages out of pocket in order to avoid going through insurance.

If not, you will have to file a vandalism claim. Since you’ve already taken more than enough photo evidence, filing a claim and repairing the damages should be a simple and direct process.

If you are not insured, then unfortunately you will not be able to get insured post-accident. However, if you file a police report you may be able to be repaid for the damages if the culprit is caught. While this is not assured, it will be well worth collecting your photo evidence if it means that you will not need to pay for the damages yourself. If you decide to repair the vehicle on your own, make sure to keep all receipts from the repairs as you may be reimbursed if the prankster is caught and you decide to press charges.

Do not seek retaliation.

If you fear that the car prank was done with malintent, then it’s important that you do not retaliate in any way. Beyond taking the moral high ground, nonretaliation protects you from any legal trouble down the road. Instead, the best thing to do is file a police report and give the authorities and all information you have as to who may have done this.

If you are planning a prank on one of your friends, then remember, the best car prank is one that doesn’t land you behind bars. Try not to do anything too extreme or that could cause damage to your friend’s car. Stick to covering your friend’s car in sticky notes and avoid using duct tape, or excessive saran wrap. Whether the car owner is a pal or a family member, it’s not worth damaging a relationship over something as silly as a car prank.

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