Have you ever found your car window smashed or the tyres slashed for no apparent reason? If so, the majority of motorists should sympathise with your frustration.
During the past year, vandals have caused a massive £953 million worth of damage to British vehicles — with drivers forking out an average £260 for repairs.
Insurer Liverpool Victoria, which insures 2.8 million British cars, found 54% of UK motorists have been the victim of vandalism and one in ten has experienced this type of crime in the past 12 months.
Keying is the most common type of vandalism and accounts for 33% of these crimes. Smashed windows make up 26% of incidents and slashed tyres represent 10% of the damage. Bent antennas, smashed mirrors or windscreens and graffiti are also common.
There's bad news for drivers in the London borough of Enfield, which was identified as the top car vandalism hotspot. Next up, South East London and Bournemouth experienced the second and third highest levels of vandalism.
Where your car is most at risk:
2. South East London
4. North West London
8. Southend on Sea
Source: Liverpool Victoria claims data
Cars most at risk
As well as where people are most hit, earlier this year online insurer Swiftcover.com worked out the Lexus IS is the vehicle most likely to be targeted, followed by the BMW Z4 and the Mini One. The Mercedes CLK, Audi TT and Mazda MX-5 are also favourites with vandals.
In contrast, motorists with more "everyday" cars such as Fords and Citroens experienced fewer incidents.
Robin Reames, claims director at Swiftcover.com, said: "Our research shows that luxury cars are more likely to be targeted by vandals. The majority of vehicles in the top ten are what we call 'executive cars', likely to be driven by high earners who see their car as a status symbol."
Can I claim on my insurance?
Although you may be covered for malicious damage if you have comprehensive cover, most third party or third party fire and theft policies won't extend to vandalism claims.
While you may receive a payout if you have a comprehensive policy, you'll need to pay the excess on the claim and will therefore still lose money if you're the victim of malicious damage.
Further, your insurance company may not classify the damage as vandalism if it has been caused by another vehicle.
On a more positive note, a few insurance companies allow you to retain your no claims discount if you claim. However, this is not a standard feature of insurance policies, so it's wise to check your fine print carefully and don't simply assume you'll be covered.
Also, your future premiums could increase if you make a vandalism claim — even if your insurance company allows you to retain your no claims bonus. This is because the incident will still appear as part of your claims history when your insurer calculates your premium costs.
Insurance and the police
If you would like to put in a claim for one of these incidents, you need to report the incident to the police so that you can provide the insurance company with a crime reference number. However, Liverpool Victoria found 48% of victims did not report the crime, although 12% believed they knew the identity of the perpetrator.
Remember to report the incident to the police as promptly as possible, especially if you're planning to make a claim on your insurance. A number of companies will suspend your no claims discount in the period between receiving your claim and having confirmation of the crime reference number.
If you do need to contact the police regarding an incident of vandalism, try not to touch the car before the police arrive or you could contaminate the evidence.