Motorists unaware of high cost of parking dings and scratches

Nearly half of UK motorists with access to a car said their vehicle had suffered minor dent damage, scuffs and scratches in the past year.

Of the 1,518 drivers interviewed by YouGov in a survey for AutoProtect, 46.7% said their vehicles had suffered minor damage, mostly in parking-related incidents and sometimes on more than one occasion.

While those scratches, small dents, chips, and scuffs will affect the value of the cars and, if left unrepaired, could make a bad situation worse, only 22% had the vehicle repaired professionally.

Minor damage that exceeds the end-of-agreement fair wear-and-tear conditions that are part of personal lease or PCP finance agreements, can be an unwelcome experience for customers and dealers alike. The research revealed that among the general population, 37% of people were unaware of this financial risk and only one-in-five were aware that SMART insurance would cover such damage.

According to Lex Autolease, the most common damage found on returned vehicles includes scratches on doors, wheels, bumpers and body panels. If such damage cannot be polished out, the Autolease website indicates a single repair could cost between £145-£207, depending on the vehicle size.

Mike Edwards, AutoProtect’s chief sales and marketing officer, said: “Ignoring minor damage creates costs in the short or longer term, which SMART insurance can easily mitigate. However, our research showed that only 22% of people knew of such an option. It is a glaring opportunity for dealers to provide value to their customers.”