An increase in motorists finding their cars damaged on public car parks

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As many as 66 per cent of motorists have experienced finding their car scratched or damaged after leaving it in a public car park, with the perpetrator having already left the scene on many occasions. In only 4 per cent of cases, the guilty party had left a note or owned up.

According to a recent report, the majority of drivers, 96 per cent, are left to pay for the damage themselves or make a claim to their own insurance company.

A spokesperson for the insurance industry said, "Many people do not want to claim for a small dink on their own insurance because they worry about their no claims bonus, so in effect they are left with a healthy bill because the person that did the damage does not own up. If they have simply ‘done a runner', you can be left high and dry. It is not simply people being dishonest. There is a fear that the third party might take advantage of the situation, and there is embarrassment. It is very tempting to simply slip away."

Car parking can be a hazardous activity and figures reveal that striking or being hit by another vehicle is by far the most common claim. Although motorists will feel understandably annoyed when their own car is damaged, only 47 per cent of drivers said that they did in fact, leave a note or contact details.

‘Door to panel' collisions with pillars, walls, trolley shelters or barriers are the next biggest claim and often occurs because of limited space between cars or drivers reversing into tight spaces with poor visibility.  There are also claims for damage from rogue shopping trolleys on a regular basis.

Experts advise that anyone who causes damage in a car park should own up rather than risk being caught later as many modern car parks now have CCTV and witnesses can easily take a picture of your car or registration.

Garages have reported an average cost of €350 plus VAT for dents on doors, €250 plus VAT for bumper buffs, €300 plus VAT for quarter panel dents.

The two repair options to motorists are smart repairs and full body-shop repairs. Smart repairs are menu driven and typically cost under €200 a panel and quote a specific small job. Full body-shop repairs are charged on an hourly labour rate and are dependant on an industry-defined time per panel, for each specific vehicle.