Car vandalism bill tops £950 million in last 12 months

  • Car vandalism cost drivers £953 million in the last 12 months
  • Over half (54%) of all UK motorists have been a victim of car vandalism
  • One in 10 (10%) drivers has had a car vandalised in the past 12 months
  • 57% of car vandalism happens on the owner’s doorstep
  • Top three car vandalism hotspots are: Enfield, South East London and Bournemouth

Vandals have caused £953 million[1] worth of damage in the past year to British cars.

According to research from LV= car insurance, more than half (54%) of all drivers have been a victim of car vandalism at some point. A quarter (25%) of drivers have had their vehicle defaced twice and one in 10 (10%) have had their car attacked three or four times.

In the past 12 months alone, one in 10 (10%) drivers has had their car vandalised and had to pay out an average of £260 to put the damage right. The most common type of vandalism is 'keying' (33%) where the car is scratched with a key, followed by smashed windows (26%), smashed mirrors (22%), bent antennas (11%) and slashed tyres (10%). One in twelve (8%) of victims has had their windscreen smashed and a similar number (7%) have had the badge stolen and 3% have even had graffiti sprayed onto their vehicle.

Vehicle vandals are not entirely indiscriminate as LV= claims data reveals that convertible cars are twice as likely to get vandalised than other types of cars. Research among owners finds that a quarter (24%) of owners[2] have experienced vandalism or theft to a convertible car they've owned, with malicious damage to the body of the car and ‘keying’ being the most commonly reported types of vandalism.

The majority of car vandals strike at dusk or after dark, with 66% of victims having discovered that damage had been caused during this time. However, residential streets proved no deterrent, as six in ten (57%) cars were damaged while parked outside their owner’s home or even on the driveway - this compares to just 7% of victims who were targeted in a city centre. Among all those who have had their car attacked, nearly one in five (17%) said that other cars on the street were also targeted at the same time.
LV= claims data reveals the car vandalism hotspots across the UK with Enfield coming top followed by South East London, Bournemouth, North West London, Brighton and Southall.

Despite many drivers(44%) saying they think car vandalism is increasing, the official records are unlikely to show the full picture, as motorists shy away from reporting the crime to the police. In total, half (48%) of victims said they did not report the incident, despite one in eight (12%) saying they believed they knew the perpetrator. When questioned as to why they did not report the crime, over half (57%) said because they did not feel there was enough evidence to bring the vandal to justice and 41% felt it was not worth making a fuss about.

Yet concern about car vandalism is a major issue with 56% of all drivers saying they worry their car will be targeted. Close to one in five (19%) drivers would not even consider buying a prestige car now for fear of it being vandalised.

John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= car insurance, said: "Vandalism is a malicious and pointless crime. It is a big worry for motorists and a cause of distress for the victims - particularly those who are targeted on their own doorstep. Keep your car in a garage if you can or park it in a well-lit area as the majority of vandalism happens at dusk or after dark."

Top 10 worst areas for car vandalism, according to LV= claims data:

  • Enfield
  • South East London
  • Bournemouth
  • North West London
  • Brighton
  • Southall
  • Romford
  • Southend on Sea
  • Rochester
  • Edinburgh

Notes to editors:

ICM interviewed both a bespoke sample of 2004 British motorists aged 18+ between 31 August – 1 September 2011. Results were weighted to be nationally representative. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

[1] According to ICM research 10% of UK drivers have had their car vandalised in the past 12 months at an average cost of £260. ICM estimates that there are 36,677,000 drivers in the UK. 10%x 36,677,000 = 3,667,700 x £260 = £953,602,000

[2] According to ICM research. ICM interviewed a bespoke sample of 500 convertible drivers online between 2 -6 June 2011.

About LV=

LV= employs 5000 people and serves over five million customers with a range of financial products.We are the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trades unions.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.