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Does car insurance cover vandalism?

We often think of car insurance as protecting us however our vehicle winds up being damaged. In truth, this often isn’t the case, especially if your vehicle has been vandalised – but you might not realise this until you’re on the phone having your claim rejected.

Here, we’ll explore what insurance companies do provide cover for as standard, what policy providers consider to be vandalism, and how to make sure you’re covered if your vehicle is deliberately damaged.

What do insurers consider as vandalism?

Our insurance team are often asked questions about vandalism – and often, people simply want to know what’s considered to be vandalism.

Common issues we see are:

  • Panels on a car being ‘keyed’ or scratched with a sharp object
  • Wing mirrors being pulled or kicked off
  • Glass being smashed – even if nothing’s stolen
  • Panels being kicked or damaged with blunt objects
  • Tyres being purposefully slashed or punctured 

Essentially, any damage that’s done to your car deliberately can be considered vandalism.

Will car insurance cover vandalism as standard?

In many cases, car insurance companies don’t provide cover in instances where your car has been deliberately damaged. This might sound unfair – but in actual fact, it’s all down to the way insurance companies classify claims.

Generally, insurance companies will mark a claim as being either “at-fault” or “non-fault”. An at-fault claim relates to an accident that you caused – whereas a non-fault claim is an accident someone else caused damaging your car.

So, vandalism sounds like a non-fault claim, right?

Sadly, that’s not how it works. With a non-fault claim, the insurer is going to tell you how to get your vehicle put right – before reclaiming the money they outlay from the insurance company of the person who caused the accident. If someone’s vandalised your car, there’s no other insurance company to claim from.

Does comprehensive insurance cover vandalism?

If a standard policy doesn’t cover vandalism – does a fully comprehensive policy?

Some insurers have special cover in place that they promote when they sell a policy – but generally speaking, no, even a comprehensive policy doesn’t protect you for the cost of vandalism. Again, it’s down to the fact that it cannot be recorded as a non-fault claim.

Whose fault is vandalism? 

Since vandalism isn’t considered a non-fault claim, you’ll unfortunately find that many insurers consider you to be at-fault if your car’s been damaged on purpose. Clearly, that’s unlikely to be the case – but the way insurance companies work mean that’s how it’ll be recorded if you claim.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that this means many instances of vandalism are never reported to insurance companies – especially since it’s often very difficult for the police to catch the person who’s damaged your vehicle.
The problem is, this means you’ll have to foot the cost of repairs yourself – although the alternative would be losing your no claims bonus and recording an at-fault claim with your insurer.

Should I claim for vandalism if my no claims bonus is protected?

If you’ve got a policy that protects your no claims bonus, you might feel that it makes sense to claim through your insurance – even if it does mean that the incident will be recorded as an at-fault claim.

While you’re absolutely entitled to do so, you might find that your insurance costs go up anyway – and it’s all because how a no claims discount is applied to your policy. A no claims bonus doesn’t actually prevent an insurance company considered claims when they provide you with a price, it simply offers you a discount off the final price. As a result, a vandalism claim is likely to cost you money going forward – even if your no claims are protected.

Will I find any car insurance that will pay for vandalism?

Fortunately, even if it’s not covered as standard, it is possible to find a car insurance policy that covers you in the event of vandalism.

Vandalism cover works in a very similar way to an ‘uninsured driver promise’ that many insurers offer. In actual fact, the two problems are very similar – since it’s someone damaging your car but with no insurance company to claim from. 

If you’d like to make sure you’re covered for intentional damage to your car, you’ll need to check with your provider when you get a quote. Generally speaking, vandalism cover won’t be included as standard with third party, third party, fire and theft, or comprehensive policies; instead, you might have to add it as an additional benefit and pay a small amount on your premium. Again, it might feel unfair, but with car vandalism numbers so high – it can make sense to make sure you’re protected.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

If your car insurance covers windscreen damage, it will probably also include cover for all other broken car windows, and some policies extend cover to glass sunroofs.

Comprehensive car insurance - often referred to as fully comprehensive (or ‘fully comp’) – includes cover for damage to your own car, whereas third party, fire and theft policies only cover damage to someone else’s vehicle and not your own.

Although you may be covered to drive other cars as part of your insurance policy, this cover often specifically excludes rental vehicles. Instead, your rental car provider will have insurance built into the cost of the hire – with a few options that’ll let you reduce any excess you’ll pay in the event of an accident.

In most cases, your car insurance will provide cover for the cost of minor engine damage as the result of an accident, but it may not cover damage due to wear and tear.

Many comprehensive car insurance policies provide cover for a cracked windshield, but not all. When taking out car insurance, check that windshield cover is included, otherwise you may need to pay extra for this cover.

If you’re involved in a hit and run accident, some car insurance policies will cover the cost of repairing your car, or pay you the current market price if it’s written-off.

Depending on the type of car insurance you have in place, it’s likely your policy will provide cover for theft.

Most comprehensive car insurance policies will cover repair for damage caused by potholes on public roads. Alternatively, you can claim directly from the authority responsible for the road.

In short, if you have comprehensive car insurance, it will pay for repairs under certain conditions.

If you have a fully comprehensive policy, you’ll generally find that insurers will pay out for severe weather damage like that caused by hail. Be warned though, not all do – so if you’re concerned, it’s important to check your policy for any exclusions.