Car vandalism in the UK is costing British drivers £1.9bn each year, according to research carried out by Churchill car insurance. Figures show almost 3 million motorists are affected by car vandalism with the average cost of repairs standing at £661 for each case.
Typical examples of car vandalism include:
- Bodywork being keyed, dented or graffitied
- Smashed windows and broken wing-mirrors
- Slashed tyres
Churchill believes the problem is more widespread as 34% of victims did not report the damage to police. The research revealed that car vandalism is on the rise with incidents increasing by 9.5% between 2016 and 2017.
Churchill lets you keep your no-claims discount if your car is vandalised. Get a quote from their site.
There has also been an increase in the price of insurance claims for vandalism. During the last 5 years, the price of insurance claims has increased by over 40%. In-car technology and a rise in repair costs have been cited as the main reason behind this increase.
Where are the worst affected areas for car vandalism in the UK?
The worst areas are Edinburgh’s EH11 postcode, covering Gorgie, Dalry and Sighthill; Nottingham’s NG15, covering Hucknall, Ravenshead, Newstead; Walthamstow in London’s E17 and Manchester’s M27, covering Swinton, Clifton, Pendlebury, Wardley and Agecroft.
Top 10 most affected areas
- Walthamstow, London
- Canary Wharf, London
Steve Barrett, head of Churchill car insurance, says: “This research proves that there isn’t a stereotypical area for vehicle vandalism and that it could happen anywhere.”
Does your car insurance policy cover vandalism?
Your car insurance policy may cover vandalism. It's best to check with your provider to find out what level of cover you have and how it works.
As you'll see in the next section, some car insurance companies approach it differently.
Standard accidents claims fall under 2 categories:
When an accident takes place, the insurer of the party considered to be at-fault will pay out for repairs or replacements. In most cases, the at-fault driver is the person responsible for causing the accident.
When an act of vandalism takes place, the situation becomes less clear. Car vandalism is considered an at-fault claim because the vandal is often unidentifiable, and your car insurer won’t be able to cover costs from them.
However, Churchill’s research revealed that of the 3 million cases that reported car damage, 41% of victims claimed to know who was responsible. Current and ex-partners were among the prime suspects, but neighbours in dispute with the victim also featured highly amongst those thought responsible.
Policyholders are likely to lose some or all of their no-claims discount if they make a claim for vandalism. Third party car insurance will not cover any repair costs from an insurer as this policy does not cover damage to vehicles.
Which car insurers cover vandalism?
Churchill’s vandalism cover comes as standard on comprehensive policies. Policyholders that claim for damage caused by a malicious and deliberate act won’t lose their no claim discount.
Tesco will pay for damage caused by accidental or malicious damage or vandalism to a vehicle. However, policyholders must satisfy Tesco that they have taken reasonable steps to safeguard the vehicle. This includes ensuring all windows, doors, roof openings and hood were closed and locked at the time when the damage was made to the vehicle.
Some insurers will offer exceptions for vandalism claims and will protect your no-claims discount. Hasting Direct covers car vandalism and lets policyholders keep their no-claims discount as long as they pay the excess and provide a crime reference number after reporting the incident to the police.
Even if a no-claims discount remains in place, car insurance premiums could still go up at renewal time (your no-claims discount is applied after your premium is calculated). Policyholders may be seen as more of a risk if their car has been identified as a target for vandals.
Which cars are most likely to be vandalised?
Small cars such as Smart cars and Minis are most at risk from vandalism according to Churchill’s survey carried out between 2013 and 2017.
- Smart car
- Alfa Romeo
How to report car vandalism
- You should go to your nearest police station to report it, or call your local police in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by dialling 101
- You will need a police report as most insurance companies require one, along with a crime reference number when dealing with a vandalism claim
- Take photos of your car, that highlight the damage that has taken place. This will give you more evidence in support of your claim
- Contact your insurer to find out whether the damage is covered by your policy
How you can avoid car vandalism?
There are a number of things you can do to lower the risk of vandalism to your vehicle. Some of the most common include:
- Park your car in visible well-lit areas. Areas that are dark or hidden provide criminals with more opportunities to break into or damage your car
- Think about the type of places you usually park your car on a daily basis. The Safer Parking Scheme is a national standard that benchmarks the safety and security of car parks. A ‘Park Mark’ means the site has been assessed and vetted by the police
- Keep your car clean and free of clutter, make sure items are covered and out of sight. Where possible take any valuables out of your car
- If you have a Sat Nav, it might be a good idea to hide the device and the rubber suction cup that sticks to the windscreen. As an added precaution, you should check if there’s a mark on the glass that gives away the fact that you have one on board
- You can protect your windows by using security film. It comes in either clear or opaque options and helps strengthen the glass and leave minimum damage if someone tries to smash their way into your vehicle
Your final checklist
When you park your car, always remember these simple tips.
- Check you haven’t left your keys in the ignition
- Don’t keep your log book in the car
- Double-check your central locking has actually locked – listen for the clunk/click noise (if you’ve got a keyless car then look through the window to check)
- Don't leave your car with the engine running
- Don't leave anything of value in the car
- If you have a sunroof, make sure it’s closed
These tips may appear obvious but they could help you avoid the emotional and financial cost of having your car damaged or vandalised.