Smashed windows, broken wing mirrors, slashed tyres and keyed bodywork are all tell-tale signs of car vandalism; and if you take pride in your set of wheels, it can be deeply upsetting to learn that someone's deliberately damaged it.
Vandalism's the act of intentionally causing damage to another person's property and is a criminal offence. Anyone found guilty of car vandalism faces criminal punishment in the form of a hefty fine or jail sentence.
Unfortunately, car vandalism isn't uncommon; security firm Broadsword predicts that over 3 in 10 drivers will fall victim to the crime. And while the overall number of vandalism acts has dropped, it's still a major issue, with around 2 million reports filed each year.
A vandal might launch an attack on a car following a disagreement with the driver, or the offence might be completely unprovoked. Either way, victims will face an average £700 bill to fix the damage.
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.
You get up in the morning, have your breakfast, grab your coat and head outdoors to your car — only to notice that the windows have been smashed and the bodywork's scratched. Here's what you should do:
Broadsword explains that more than 38% of car vandalism acts happen just outside of the victim's home, and often in broad daylight. Even if you park your car in a low crime area, you're still at risk. However, there are some things you can do to help safeguard your car against vandalism, such as:
If you've got a driveway or garage, use it. Even if it means clearing some clutter so your car can fit in, it's worth the time and effort.
Whilst parking your car on a driveway means it's still accessible to vandals, keeping it off the street and near to your property will deter them from targeting it.
If you've no choice but to park on the road overnight, choose a well-lit area close to your home. Consider installing motion-activated sensors on the front of your property — this is often enough to stop vandals from targeting you out of fear of getting caught in the act.
Park your car in a dark, dingy and quiet backstreet and you're asking for trouble. Instead, you should stick to busier areas with lots of other cars and foot traffic. Better still, utilise public car parks as they often have CCTV surveillance in place, which is a great deterrent.
If you leave expensive gadgets on-show in your car, you're giving criminals a good reason to smash your windows. Make sure all belongings are out of sight wherever you leave your car. Just to be on the safe side, take all expensive items with you instead of storing them in an unlocked glove box.
If your car doesn't have one fitted as standard, consider investing in a quality, factory-approved alarm that's motion-activated. There are lots of products on the market, so do your research to find out which ones are best for your car's make and model.
At Hastings Direct, we offer a car vandalism promise as part of our Defaqto 5 Star rated cover. This means if you have to make a vandalism claim on your insurance policy, you won't lose your no-claims discount providing the following conditions are met:
Reporting the act of vandalism to the police is vital as without the crime reference number your no-claims discount may be affected.