• Malicious damage most likely on a Saturday or Sunday
• Manchester is the national hotspot for this type of claim
• Average cost of claim in 2015 was over £1000
• Co-operative Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch calling for communities to look out for their neighbours

Motor insurance claims for malicious damage rose 15% last year according to recent data from the Co-operative Insurance*.

Since 2011 the Co-operative Insurance had seen a 65% drop in the number of motor claims it received which were classed as being malicious damage, however between 2014 and 2015 this figure began to rise. An upward month on month trend has also been identified in January and February of 2016.

Malicious damage is an act that intentionally or deliberately causes damage to personal, private or commercial property. Examples of malicious damage include vandalism such as car bodywork being deliberately scratched, wing mirrors pulled off and windows being smashed.

According to the Co-operative Insurance claims data car owners in Manchester are most at risk of malicious damage to their vehicles followed by those in Edinburgh, Chelmsford and Peterborough. The average cost of a malicious damage claim in 2015 was £1,001 in comparison to £961 in 2014.

The top three regions where malicious damage motor claims are most prevalent are the South East, London and the East of England. This type of damage is most likely to occur over weekends, on Saturday or Sunday.

These figures comes as the Co-operative Insurance has announced it has become a primary sponsor of Neighbourhood Watch for 2016 and the two organisations are urging communities to look out for their neighbours and their belongings. Together we are calling for more Neighbourhood Watch members and are aiming to set up 30,000 new schemes this year.

Recent research has found that nearly one in five (18%) of people have not had a conversation with their neighbour for over a month, whilst 13% have admitted to not knowing their neighbour’s names.**

Jonathan Guy, head of claims at the Co-operative Insurance, said: “Malicious damage is a senseless crime and can cause a great deal of inconvenience and upset to the victim. Vigilance is key and whilst we would never advise tackling somebody who you think may be deliberately damaging property, we would urge individuals to be alert to this type of activity and call the police if they do see it.
“We want people to feel safe where they live so by working with Neighbourhood Watch, who share this goal, we have the potential to reach out to a huge part of society to help make this possible.”

Lynn Farrar, Vice-Chair of the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network, said: “We ask all our members to report crime when they see it and that includes damaging all property including cars. Our ethos is that of making people feel safe in their community and knowing that neighbours will report incidence to the police re-assures our communities and also acts as a deterrent against crime occurring.”

Top tips for keeping vehicles safe:
1. Always ensure doors are locked and any alarms on when you leave your vehicle
2. If possible, park your vehicle in a well-lit area and avoid dark side streets
3. Never leave any items on show in your car
4. If you have a steering lock, use it

*Co-operative Insurance malicious damage claims data 2011 – 2016 14.8% increase

*** Research by Atomik for the Co-operative Group