Stepping out your front door to a vandalised car is one of the most frustrating things for any driver. And it is becoming increasingly common. Vandalism sets drivers back almost £2 billion every single year, and an average repair on a vandalised car totals at £661. It happens to about 30 per cent of motorists each year, and it could happen to you if you’re not careful.
But what is vandalism, and how can you avoid it?
Vandalism is the intentional damage of another person’s property. In the context of cars, this is most frequently seen in the form of keying (scratching with keys or other sharp objects) or smashed windows. It could also be graffiti, slashed tyres, snapped windscreen wipers or more severe damage.
It is unpleasant and upsetting to have your car vandalised, although there are ways to minimise the risk. If possible, drivers should store their car in a secure garage or at least a private driveway or well-lit area. You should always avoid leaving windows open and don’t store any valuable items inside your car. Alarms and CCTV cameras are expensive but effective ways of deterring thieves or vandals.
But vandalism is often unavoidable. Many such offenders are opportunistic and may strike in any place at any time. If you have been a victim of vandalism to your car, here are the steps you should take to ensure the crime is reported and you can get your vehicle up and running as quickly as possible.
Report it to the police
The first step you should take after an incident of vandalism is to call the police and let them know what’s happened. It’s a good idea to document the evidence with a camera as this may help the investigation. Many crimes of vandalism are carried out by a known acquaintance, so you should report any suspicions while being cautious not to make any potentially false accusations. Up to 58% of vandalism offences are not reported, as many drivers have little faith that the offender will be apprehended. Still, even if justice is not served, a report means there will be a record of the crime for insurance purposes.
Call your insurance provider
Your next phone call should be to your insurance company. A comprehensive car insurance policy will usually cover acts of vandalism, but it’s important to check to make sure. Your provider will ask for details of the offence and should give you further advice on getting your car repaired. If you are unable to drive it, they may offer you a temporary courtesy car.
Get your car repaired
Depending on the nature and severity of the vandalism, different levels of repairs may be needed. It may be a replacement windscreen or mirror, or you may require the services of panelbeaters to repair any dents to the frame. Your insurance policy will most likely cover these repairs.
Going forward, it is unlikely that your car will be subject to vandalism again, but there are steps you can take to mitigate the risk. Always keep your car in a secure location and be vigilant at all times.