The true cost of car vandalism

Car vandalism from overzealous eco warriors slashing tyres and defacing vehicles to car part thefts in the middle of the street, it doesn’t matter what the reason is; they are all selfless vandals with no thought of the consequences they reap.

Committing vandalism is a criminal offense, and intentionally damaging someone else’s property is a serious offense.

Car vandalism – learning that almost a third of drivers and their vehicles fall victim to vandalism yearly is concerning. 

Car vandalism can take various forms, such as keying, denting, graffiti, and smashing car windows. It is a criminal act that can cause immense frustration and financial burden for car owners. 

The cost of repairing vandalism damage amounts to nearly £2 billion (£1.9 billion) annually, with an average repair cost of £661 per car.* 

Recent research by *Churchill Insurance states that nearly three million drivers have experienced car vandalism, and the overall value of criminal damage to motor vehicles has increased by 9.5 per cent since 2016-17. 

Car Vandalism – Man in shock after thieves stripped parts from car.

A man told how he was “astounded” to wake up and find thieves had stripped his wife’s car for parts.

The silver Ford Fiesta was stripped of parts of its engine, bonnet, and lights overnight, yards from Dan Sullivan’s house in Solihull.

Mr Sullivan said the car was now an insurance write-off, and his family has been left without a vehicle. West Midlands Police said they were investigating.

Mr Sullivan said: “They cut away all the engine housing, bonnet, lights, and the radiator was stripped.

“There were cables hanging out and hoses, and they cut through the metal with shears.”

The insurance company has taken away the car and declared it as a write-off.

Extract Source – BBC News

What distinguishes car vandalism claim from an accident claim?

Accidents are commonly classified as at-fault or non-fault, with the responsible party’s insurance company covering the cost of repairs or replacements. Generally, the driver who caused the accident is a non-fault.

Dealing with a vandalised car can is a bit more complicated. Insurance companies may categorise it as an at-fault claim since the vandal’s identity is often unknown, making cost recovery challenging. Third-party insurance protects your car from damages, but you cannot claim the repair costs.

If my car is vandalised, am I covered by insurance?

When it comes to comprehensive insurance, vandalism protection is typically provided as part of the coverage. Most insurance providers include this in their policies, and it’s usually not something that will negatively impact your no-claims bonus. 

Notify your insurer as soon as possible if your vehicle has been damaged due to vandalism. They can assist you with the repair expenses, but it’s important to keep in mind that certain terms and conditions may apply, such as having to use a specific garage for repairs.

SUVs in Bristol spray-painted with climate change protests.

Environmental protestors have damaged Nearly a dozen cars with spray-painted phrases like “climate criminal” on them.

Avon and Somerset Police investigated 11 reports of criminal damage to SUVs in Clifton, Bristol.

It’s the second time climate protestors have damaged cars in Bristol – around 60 had their tyres let down last year.

“Officers will be carrying out increased patrols”, a police spokesperson said.

“We are appealing for anyone who is a victim of this kind of crime to report it to us so we can establish a pattern and progress our investigation.”

Jonathan Holmes BBC News

How to report car vandalism

Were you aware that in the UK, a substantial 18% of drivers have encountered car vandalism? Alarming figures reveal that out of those affected, 41% are suspicious of who the culprit responsible for the damage could be.

If you suspect someone, sharing that information can prove instrumental in the investigation. 

The authorities strongly advise reporting any incidents of vandalism . Astonishingly, 58% of vandalism cases go unreported because of a lack of faith in the authorities’ ability to catch and charge the perpetrator. 

Nevertheless, obtaining a crime number for insurance purposes is imperative, even if the authorities cannot take immediate action.

What are some other preventative measures drivers can take to avoid car vandalism?

You can take several precautions to reduce your chances of suffering at the hands of vandals. They include:

Here are some useful tips for parking your car safely:

  • Install a catalytic converter lock to prevent theft.
  • Avoid leaving any valuables visible inside your car.
  • Park your car in a well-lit area, driveway, or garage if possible.
  • Fold in your car’s wing mirrors to avoid damage.
  • Consider installing an additional alarm system to deter criminals.
  • While not recommended by the police, shock alarms (small electric shocks) are legal if displaying clear warning sign
  • Consider buying airless tyres.

What if I lease my car or van ?

Before leasing a car, it’s necessary to have comprehensive insurance coverage. The only distinction between a leased vehicle and one you own is that you must notify the finance company (not the broker) of the police crime number and insurance policy particulars.

My maintenance contract covers tyre damage. Does it include car vandalism?

You need to check the terms and conditions of your policy. The term you are looking for is “Malicious Damage”. The policies that do cover are strict on requiring a police crime number. 

How can car vandalism affect a driver’s insurance premiums?

If a driver has comprehensive coverage and makes a claim for vandalism damage, their insurance company may increase their future premiums.

Additionally there is also the cost of the excess to consider when making a claim, especially if the insurance company deems the claim as a “Fault Claim”.

A Fault Claim is an accident or loss where you are one to blame, or your insurance company cannot recover their costs in full of someone else; you should expect your car insurance to increase by about 20-50% after making a claim.