Car vandalism

If someone vandalises your car, the right car insurance can help.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 5 July 2023  | 4 mins read
Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

Information on this page was reviewed by our fact-checkers before it was published. Learn more about our fact checking process and our editorial guidelines.

Does car insurance cover vandalism?

This depends on your policy. Most comprehensive car insurance policies will cover criminal damage to your car. But the amount you’ll be able to claim will vary between providers.

However, you won’t usually be covered if you have a third party, fire and theft policy. Although you may be entitled to a payout if the damage happens while someone tries to steal your car. With a third party only policy, you won’t be covered, no matter the circumstances.

Some types of car vandalism are minor and, although frustrating and inconvenient, are often something you can sort out and pay for yourself.

But sometimes the costs involved can be more significant, running up a bill of hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

So it’s worth checking your policy wording to see what cover is included for malicious damage.

Key points

  • Vandalism is when someone deliberately causes damage to your car
  • It’s classed separately to accidental damage and is usually only covered with a fully comprehensive policy 
  • Insurers count vandalism as an at-fault claim typically, so your no-claims bonus will be affected and your premiums may increase at renewal time 
  • But some insurers offer a vandalism promise that will protect your no-claims discount

What are the most common types of car vandalism?

Your car might be an essential part of getting you or your family around. So it makes sense to try to keep it in good condition.

But if someone deliberately damages your car, this is vandalism and it’s a criminal offence.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were more than 160,700 incidents of criminal damage to vehicles in 2022.

The most common types of criminal car damage include:

  • Intentional scratching of your car’s paintwork with keys or sharp objects
  • Smashing windows, wing mirrors or lights
  • Slashing tyres
  • Graffiti
  • Dented or kicked in bodywork
  • Snapped windscreen wipers

Will I lose my no-claims discount if I make a claim for vandalism?

If your car is vandalised and you need to make a claim, this is usually considered to be an at-fault claim by the insurer.

In other words, because it’s unlikely you’ll be able to identify the vandal, your insurer won’t be able to recover any costs from them.

This usually means your no-claims discount (NCD) will be affected, so your premiums may go up at renewal time. This may still apply even if you have a protected NCD.

However, some insurers have a ‘vandalism promise’, meaning your NCD can stay intact after a vandalism claim.

Is car vandalism classed as accidental damage?

No, because vandalism - also referred to as malicious damage - is done deliberately by someone else, insurers treat it differently to accidental damage.

And even though you’re not to blame, any vandalism claim is still usually classed as an at-fault claim. However, if the vandal is caught by the police, they could face a hefty fine or even a prison sentence.

Do I have to pay an excess if my car was vandalised?

Yes, if you’re making a claim for damage caused by vandalism, you’ll need to pay your policy excess.

Often the insurer will simply deduct your excess from any payout they provide. So there’s no point in making a claim if the excess will be more than the cost of the repairs.

Also, check whether your policy has any cover limits for vandalism, as you may not get back the full amount.

What do I do if my car is vandalised?

It can be a nasty surprise to discover you’ve been the victim of vandalism, but following these steps can help get your car sorted as quickly as possible:

  1. Call the police

    Use the non-emergency 101 phone number to report what’s happened and get a crime reference number. You can also report vandalism on

  2. Don’t clear up

    Wait until you’ve spoken to your insurer before you start moving things. The police will also advise on when you can start cleaning up.

  3. Get evidence

    Take photos and videos of the damage. Check any CCTV or dashcam footage you might have. If the vandalism happened at home, find out if neighbours heard or saw anything.

  4. Contact your insurer

    You’ll need to have your policy number and crime reference number to hand and provide the insurer with details about the incident, including the time, date and location.

How do I protect my car from vandalism?

There are things you can do to help avoid becoming one of the statistics:

Remove valuables

Don’t leave anything in sight that might tempt thieves to smash your car windows.

Use your drive or garage

Keeping your car near your property is a good deterrent for thieves and vandals. Motion sensors on your home that light up can also help.

Park in well-lit areas

If you can’t keep your car next to your home, make sure you leave it somewhere where thieves and vandals can be easily spotted.

Tuck in wing mirrors

Leaving your wing mirrors pushed in when you’re not in your car could prevent them being kicked or smashed.

Instal security measures

Investing in an alarm, GPS tracker and CCTV can help to deter and catch vandals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Only if you decide to make a claim. Some insurers offer a vandalism promise that will protect your NCD if you need to claim for malicious damage.

But if your insurer doesn’t offer this, claiming for vandalism will often mean you’ll lose your NCD for that year.

Yes, because it’s classed as an at-fault claim, if you make a claim for vandalism, it’s likely to increase your premiums when it comes to renewal.

This depends on whether the repair costs are more than the excess. If the damage is relatively cheap to repair, it might be better to pay for it yourself - otherwise, making a claim could push up your premiums in the future.

If the damage is so bad that the insurer decides it’s not worth the cost to repair the car, they’ll usually reimburse you for the car’s market value.

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