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Does car insurance cover vandalism?

Kim Staples
Written by  Kim Staples
Saarrah Mussa
Reviewed by  Saarrah Mussa
5 min read
Updated: 16 Feb 2024

Cars and other vehicles got vandalised more than 155,000 times last year, according to the ONS. But when yours is one of them, can you claim on your insurance to cover the repairs?

Does my car insurance cover vandalism claims?

Vandalism claims are treated a little differently by insurers compared to other types. The short answer is that you may be able to make a claim, especially if your policy is fully comprehensive, but will most likely have to pay an excess and lose your no-claims bonus.

Car insurance claims are either considered ‘at-fault’, meaning the policy holder is responsible for causing the damage, or ‘non-fault’, meaning there is someone else at fault to recuperate damage costs from. Because vandalism is someone’s fault, but the insurer can’t recover the costs from that person, it has to be classed as at-fault.

Individual policies and insurance companies vary though. A lot of fully comprehensive policies will cover the cost of damages. And a few firms guarantee they will cover vandalism costs without affecting your no-claims bonus. On the other hand, third-party only and third party, fire, and theft policies won’t cover it at all.

It can also vary depending on the type of damage. For instance, some insurers will cover smashed windscreens regardless of how they got broken.

However, it’s still likely that you’ll need to pay an excess.

What do car insurers count as vandalism?

This can vary depending on the insurer. But generally speaking, vandalism – also known as ‘malicious damage’ – simply means deliberate damage to your car.

That can include:

  • Slashed or purposefully punctured tyres

  • Scratched panels or paintwork, by a key or other sharp object

  • Smashed windows – even if nothing was stolen

  • Graffiti

  • Wing mirrors pulled off or broken

  • Smashed lights

  • Deliberately dented body or panels

Will I have to pay excess on a vandalism claim?

Probably. Most insurers require you to pay excess on a vandalism claim, even if it’s a circumstance they cover.

But not in every case – so be sure to check your policy.

Will a vandalism claim affect my no claims bonus?

Unfortunately, yes, a vandalism claim will most likely affect your no-claim bonus.

However, it’s worth checking your policy and your insurer. Some promise that vandalism won’t affect your no-claims discount.

What should I do if my car is vandalised?

  1. Contact the police. Call the non-emergency number (101) or report it on gov.uk. Give them all the details of the incident, and get a crime reference number.

  2. Take photos. Get shots of the damage from as many angles as you can using a good camera.

  3. Contact your insurer to report the incident. You’ll need to give them a crime reference number.

  4. Don’t disturb the evidence. Only clean up when the police confirm it’s okay to do so.

Do I have to report vandalism to my car insurance, even if I cover the repair costs myself?

No, you don’t. It’s up to you whether you contact your insurer or not. If you’d rather cover the repair costs yourself – and keep your no-claims bonus – you don’t have to tell your insurer about the incident.

Tips to protect your car from vandalism

It’s difficult to fully guarantee your car is protected from vandalism, especially as it’s such a prevalent crime in the UK, but there are a few things you can do to help reduce your chances of your car becoming a victim.

Use your garage or driveway

Your car is safest locked away in a garage, but even just keeping it parked on the driveway close to your house will help deter thieves.

Park safely

Garage or driveway not an option? When parking elsewhere, stick to somewhere well-lie, and preferably well-used and busy with lots of other traffic and pedestrians. You can also make use of Park Mark locations, which have been assessed and vetted by the police.

Hide your belongings

…especially if they look valuable, like satnavs and bags. Tuck things away in the glove box, cover them with blankets, or stash them in the boot. If you have something of value with you, take it with you when you leave your car – it’s safer with you than on the back seat.

Install a good quality alarm

Or regularly check that the one you have works. Motion-activated alarms are the best choice to deter thieves and vandals.

Pap the criminals

The risk of getting caught on film is a great deterrent for vandals. Consider investing in a dashcam, home security camera, or even a smart doorbell such as a Ring system. And when parking in public, pick somewhere covered by CCTV.

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