/ Travel & Leisure

I’m ‘keyed-off’ with mindless car vandals

The Fiat 500 has the dubious honour of being Britain’s most vandalised car, according to an insurance company survey. If even this relatively cheap Fiat is targeted, are any of our cars safe from key-wielding vandals?

My car was ‘keyed’ a few weeks ago. Now, every time I look at it, I don’t notice the freshly-polished paintwork or smart alloy wheels. All I see is a three-foot long gouge along both side doors, along with a veil of red mist that descends gradually across my field of vision.

Still, it’s hardly surprising, is it Tim? You live in one of the shabbier parts of Croydon and you were probably driving a flash, fresh-out-the-box test car at the time. Well, I do live in Croydon, but actually this was my own car: a 2001 Ford Focus worth all of about, ooh… £1,300.

This wasn’t an attack motivated by jealousy, then. Nobody could mistake me for a banker on the way to collect my bonus in my 11-year-old Focus. And it’s the same story for owners of the Fiat 500 – revealed this week to be Britain’s most vandalised car in a survey by insurance company Swiftcover.

The most vandalised cars

Here are the top 10 most vandalised cars in 2011/12, along with their chance of being vandalised in brackets:

1. Fiat 500 (3.62%)
2. BMW Z4 (2.97%)
3. Peugeot 207 (2.39%)
4. BMW X5 (2.37%)
5. Land Rover Range Rover (2.15%)
6. Volkswagen Beetle (1.88%)
7. Audi TT (1.64%)
8. Fiat Punto (1.61%)
9. Mini Cooper (1.54%)
10. BMW 3 Series (1.52%)

I always assumed that expensive cars were more of a target for casual damage – and the three BMWs, Audi TT and Range Rover in the top 10 suggest there is some truth in that.

However, the presence of the 500, Peugeot 207, Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat Punto and Mini Cooper shows that even ‘everyday’ cars aren’t immune. Clearly the ‘happy-scratching’ vandals who roam our streets aren’t fussy; they’re just out to cause damage for the sake of it.

Rising insurance costs

I doubt these vandals are unduly concerned about my rapidly rising car insurance premium either. But with the average cost of a vandal-damage repair at £972.75, they are indeed partly responsible.

So, what’s the answer? Move to a house with a garage, invest in a better security system, or err… instil a sense of moral responsibility into society? The latter option is probably the most sensible, though I don’t think I’d be in the mood after just having my car keyed.

In the meantime, I’ll keep daydreaming about busting out my best Jean Claude Van Damme moves on whoever scratched my car.

Has your car been keyed or otherwise damaged by vandals? Vent your spleen below and if you’ve got any ideas on how to tackle this problem, don’t be afraid to share them.


Interesting collection of cars. Perhaps these are the sort of cars that are used mostly on the school run?

I actually bought a car once with 2 huge scratches down either side, but the car was £750 and in fine mechanical order so I didn’t care.
When I worked in Leeds, I met someone whose car had had a racist name carved into it, unbelievable.

So I can make an assumption who is responsible for these expensive and annoying acts…..


loskie says:
18 April 2012

What about the careless attitude of people parking next to you. Quite happily open their car doors and bang right into yours easily causing damage.
If you speak to them (however politely) they look at you as if you have two heads.
Hit and run minor parking scrapes are common and are actually criminal damage.
I think that people just have no respect for other peoples property. In the main they may be paying very little in monthly instalments for a pricy asset like a car and so have no clue as to the real value. Go to a car auction and see the state of many of the Motorbility cars on sale and you will see what I mean. easy come easy go.

This is not malicious damage but carelessness, though it can look far worse than carelessness.

My solution is to park well away from other cars if possible and it is many years since I have had any scrapes. There is often one or two people parked in the distant corner of supermarket car parks. Anyone with a severe disability might have greater things to worry about than keeping cars shiny.

My partner and I often face a similar problem, loskie. We have to have a relatively new car as part of my partner’s work car allowance stipulations, but despite our best efforts at taking great care of it, we still end up with dents and scratches from careless people in car parks.

It’s quite infuriating and seems relatively unavoidable. And it makes me nervous to have a nice car – I was happier in my old banger when I knew another scratch didn’t matter!

Chris Pickering says:
18 April 2012

Maybe the 500 is top because it is (like the Z4 & Mini) a mass market car (lots of them to vandalise) and owners of city cars (like the 500) are likely to park them in locations that are more prone to vandalism?

Roger K says:
20 April 2012

My VW Polo has some minor scratching on the bonnet and roof which I am pretty was done by some of the numerous local foxes (in a very quiet SE London street), perhaps during their fearsomely noisy romantic interludes. The neighbours’ cars seem to have so far escaped this canine vandalism, so I assume the foxes think that a Polo owner must be a polo-playing horsey hunting type.
I have a couple of other marks which I think were picked up in supermarket car parks (trolley damage?) but I don’t blame the foxes for that.

I think you may have explained the mysterious scratches that have recently appeared on my Golf.

I wonder if foxes would leave a VW Lupo alone. Or a Jaguar. 🙂

vin says:
20 April 2012

While visiting relatives in York a cyclist rode into my parked 6 month old Kia Ceed, left three dents in the wing, one dent was where the brake lever had punched an almost perfect square in the wing. Needless to say they rode off leaving what could have been a very expensive repair. I found a body repair expert who removed the damage without even taking the wing off the car, very reasonable rates, and recommended on which local.restored to car back to mint condition.

Amanda Gurdinelli says:
11 May 2013

I had the honour of having our 8 month old Volkswagen Golf vandalised by some yobs outside my home in North London and after doing some research and coming upon this article I was a little bit apprehensive about paying a good portion of my monthly salary to a bodyshop to get it sorted and after a little more digging I came across a little nugget on the internet.

A mobile bodyshop company that came to our house and repaired the hooligans signature on our car and for roughly half than our local bodyshop quoted us and it was all done in the space of a day.

Not sure if it will help anyone and apologies if I fall foul of any rules but the company I used was called Bumper Repairs at http://bumperrepairs.uk.com and i cant recommend them enough for being punctual, friendly and professional in the service they offered.

Good luck to anyone unlucky enough to fall foul to these mindless yobs, through no fault of your own !!

Anne Smith says:
27 June 2013

I have had a 72 year old woman (over an 8 month period) scratch my car 23 times, superglue the lock, steal and break window wipers, wheel trim stolen, wing mirror smashed… I had to have cctv installed to find out who this was. I have never had any dealings with this lady only once when she asked me ‘is that your car?’
I had reported the criminal damage to the police on numerous occasions, able to identify it to be her on CCTV, she admitted all damage and received a caution!!!!!!!!!!!!!! £2100 just for the CCTV I paid. £2700 car damage… She said I had no tax…. I always have tax.. There are some weird ones out there!