- Help, someone keyed my car
- Who to tell when your car is keyed
- Paintwork repair options
- How to prevent your car from being keyed
- Someone keyed my car – can I press charges?
- Frequently asked questions
Help, someone keyed my car
Discovering that your car has been keyed or deliberately scratched can be a distressing experience. However, it is important to know that you are not alone in facing this issue.
Car keying, which refers to intentionally scratching or damaging a vehicle’s bodywork, is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. In fact, it accounts for the majority of deliberate car damage incidents, making up approximately 41% of reported offences.
If your car has been keyed, here are the steps you can take to address the situation:
Document the damage
Take clear and detailed photos of the keyed area from different angles. This will serve as evidence for insurance purposes and potential legal actions.
File a police report
Contact your local police department and report the incident. Provide them with all the relevant details, including when and where the incident occurred. They may ask for the evidence you documented earlier.
Notify your insurance company
Contact your car insurance provider and inform them about the incident. They will guide you through the claims process and provide instructions on how to proceed.
Seek repair estimates
Obtain multiple quotes from reputable auto repair shops to assess the cost of repairing the damage. Share these estimates with your insurance company as required.
Repair the damage
Once you have approval from your insurance company, schedule the necessary repairs with a trusted and qualified auto body shop. Ensure they have experience in dealing with paint damage and can match the colour of your vehicle.
Consider preventive measures
To protect your car from future incidents, you may want to invest in security measures such as installing security cameras or parking in well-lit areas with surveillance.
Remember, keying a car is considered an act of vandalism and is against the law. By following these steps, you can effectively handle the situation and work towards restoring your vehicle’s appearance.
Who to tell when your car is keyed
When your car is keyed, it is important to take the appropriate steps to address the situation. Here’s who you should inform:
Report to the police
Keying is considered an act of vandalism, and you should report it to the police. Instead of dialling the emergency number 999, contact your local police station using the non-emergency number 101. Even if immediate action may not be possible, having the incident officially recorded is valuable. The police will provide you with a crime reference number, which you will need for insurance purposes.
Check your car insurance policy
Review your car insurance policy to determine if it covers vandalism. Some comprehensive policies include vandalism as a standard feature, while others may require an additional add-on. Refer to your policy document or contact your insurance provider to understand the extent of your coverage.
Consider making an insurance claim
Whether or not to file an insurance claim depends on several factors. Assess the severity of the damage and consider how much you value your car’s appearance. Additionally, take into account the excess amount you would have to pay if you choose to claim. If the damage is significant and the cost of repairs outweighs your excess, making an insurance claim may be a viable option.
Remember to document the damage with photographs and keep any relevant receipts or estimates for repair costs. Notify your insurance provider promptly to initiate the claims process, providing them with the necessary information and the crime reference number provided by the police.
Handling a keyed car incident requires careful consideration of your insurance coverage, the extent of damage, and your personal circumstances. By taking these steps, you can navigate the situation and make informed decisions regarding your car’s repairs.
Paintwork repair options
Options for repairing the paintwork:
DIY Scratch Repair
If the scratches on your car’s paintwork are not deep, you can attempt to reduce their appearance using a DIY scratch-repair kit. These kits can be purchased online or from car accessories stores.
However, it’s important to note that the results may not be as professional-looking as those achieved by a trained technician. There is also a risk of making the scratches worse if not done properly, so only proceed if you are confident in your abilities.
If the scratches are deep or if you can see metal beneath the paint, it is recommended to seek professional assistance. Deep scratches can expose the underlying panels to rust and corrosion, making it crucial to address them promptly.
Hiring a professional to sand down the scratches, apply primer, and repaint the affected panels may be more expensive, but it can provide a high-quality and long-lasting result. It is advisable to shop around and compare prices, as you may find competitive rates. Additionally, check if your insurance policy covers paintwork repairs, as some or all of the costs may be covered.
When deciding between DIY repair and professional assistance, consider the severity of the scratches, your skill level, and your desired outcome. Keep in mind that professional repair offers a more comprehensive and reliable solution, ensuring that your car’s paintwork is restored to its original condition.
How to prevent your car from being keyed
Tips for preventing car keying:
Park in a Garage
If possible, park your car in a secure garage or enclosed area. This provides maximum protection from potential vandals.
Choose Well-Lit and Busy Areas
When parking on the street, opt for well-lit and busy areas. Vandals are less likely to target cars in highly visible locations.
Leave Space Between Vehicles
When parking in public parking lots, leave some space between your car and other vehicles. This reduces the chances of accidental contact or intentional damage by others.
Install Security Measures
Consider installing a CCTV system or a smart home security system if your car is parked at home. These systems can act as deterrents and provide evidence in case of any vandalism attempts.
Use a Dash Cam
Certain dash cams have parking mode, which can record footage even when your car is parked. While a dash cam may not prevent car keying, it can potentially capture the act and assist in identifying the culprit.
Remember, no preventative measure can guarantee complete protection, but taking these steps can help reduce the risk of your car being targeted by vandals.
Someone keyed my car – can I press charges?
Pressing charges for vandalism, such as keying a car, is possible as it is considered a criminal offence. However, the challenge lies in identifying the perpetrator. To increase the chances of finding the responsible party, it can be helpful to have security cameras installed around your home.
If your car was keyed in a public location, it is worth exploring the availability of CCTV footage in the area. Look for nearby cameras with visible ID numbers and contact the local council or business owner to inquire about the possibility of obtaining the footage.
Keep in mind that access to CCTV footage typically requires a request from a victim’s lawyer or insurance company. They will need to provide the necessary information, including your name and identification, the date, time, and location of the incident, as well as details about the crime and the car involved.
Some local councils provide online maps indicating the areas covered by CCTV. Visit your council’s website for information on how to request access to the footage.
Remember, gathering evidence and pressing charges can be a complex process, so it is advisable to seek legal advice to navigate the legal procedures effectively.
Frequently asked questions
Claiming for a keyed car may or may not affect your no-claims discount, as it depends on the policy of your insurance provider. Some insurers understand that vandalism is beyond your control and may offer protection for your no-claims discount in such cases.
The cost of repairing a keyed car can vary depending on several factors, including the extent and location of the damage, the type of car you drive, and your location.
On average, repairing a light scratch may cost around £90, while a deep scratch could range up to £300.
However, these prices are estimates, and it’s recommended to obtain multiple quotes from reputable repair shops to get an accurate cost assessment before making a decision.