The setbacks of car vandalism
Vandalism, which is intentionally causing damage to another person’s property, is a criminal offence and it’s estimated that up to thirty per cent of motorists – and their cars – per year are victims of it. Offences include bodywork being keyed, dented, and damaged with graffiti, and windows being smashed.
Vandalism is setting drivers back almost £2 billion (£1.9 billion) every single year and average repair costs stand at £661 per car.
From 2016 – 17, almost three million drivers had their cars vandalised and the total value of criminal damage to motor vehicles increased by 9.5 per cent.
How is a vandalism claim different to an accident claim?
Standard accident claims are categorised under two groups: at-fault and non-fault. In the event of an accident, the insurer of the party considered at-fault will pay out for repairs or replacements. In most cases, the at-fault driver is the person responsible for causing the accident.
But things get a little tricky when a car is vandalised. Acts of vandalism are often treated by insurers as an at-fault claim because they don't know who the vandal is and therefore can't recover costs. If you have third party insurance, your car isn't protected against damage and so you won't be able to claim for repair costs.
If my car is vandalised, am I covered by insurance?
Vandalism is covered by the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy. Most insurance companies offer vandalism cover, as standard and vandalism issues tend not to affect a drivers no claims bonus. For this reason, you should always inform your insurer if you have suffered from any vandalism issues, as they will be able to cover the repair costs. In some cases there will be conditions, such as having to go to a specific garage to have the damage repaired.
How to report car vandalism
18% of drivers in the UK are a victim of car vandalism and 41% of these motorists have an inkling about who deliberately damaged their car. This can be of help when reporting the issue to the authorities, which is strongly advised if you experience any type of vandalism.
It is estimated that up to 58 per cent of vandalism problems are not reported; this is because many people have little faith that the criminal will be caught and charged with the crime. Even if the authorities cannot act, it is important that there is a record of the crime for insurance purposes.
There are a number of straightforward precautions that you can take in order to reduce your chances of suffering at the hands of vandals.
• Parking your car in a well-lit area
• Not leaving any belongings on show
• Parking on your driveway or in the garage
• Tuck in your car’s wing mirrors
• An alarm system to deter criminals from causing problems
• Neighbourhood watch schemes - contact the National Neighbourhood Watch Association